Post-Elton Brand, Ed Stefanski was incapable of making the logical move. In 2009 it was clear that Elton Brand wasn't going to turn the Sixers into the contenders. He had a 32 year-old Andre Miller, who everyone knew was leaving via free agency if not offered a lengthy deal – which also would've been a mistake – yet Stefanski failed to receive anything in return. There were deals out there; there had to be. He could have gotten something for Miller, and he should have.
Fast forward to June 2010 and the Draft. Stefanski made the obvious pick and packed up shop. Despite having an array of expendable assets at his disposal, which he un-doubtably could have traded for picks and/or players who fit the Sixers' roster and/or their long-term plan. The minute Rod Thorn became President he traded Willie Green and Jason Smith for Craig Brackins, the 21st overall pick. If Stefanski wasn't asleep at the wheel on draft night, he could have traded the same package for a similar pick, and drafted a player who filled a need – like a shot-blocking big man or a lights out three-point shooter.
But therein lies the problem. Post-Elton Brand, Stefanski had no plan. He wandered aimlessly around the land of GMs, making head-scratching move after head-scratching non-move. He was Brad Lidge after the Albert Pujols homerun. He was scared to make significant moves because his big splash turned out to be a big flop. He claimed no move made "basketball sense". He refused to make a trade unless he received equal value in return. He couldn't trade Iguodala at the deadline because the only offers came in the form of cap relief, young players and draft picks. Why would a rebuilding team want young players and picks? No, if Stefanski was going to unload Iguodala it was going to be for a veteran with comparable talent like (*pulling name out of hat*) Stephen Jackson.
Look no further than Stefanski's final move as Sixers general manager. He signed Tony Battie, who's been playing decent this season, but who cares? What purpose does signing a 34 year-old veteran – who's been nothing but mediocre throughout his career – serve for a rebuilding team? Why not sign someone with potential? Someone who has a chance to be part of the long-term plans? A promising D-Leaguer? Anyone but Tony Battie. His 11 minutes per game – on the third worst team in the league mind you –could and should be used on a young(er) player. And don't give me the "he's a calming presence on our young big men" nonsense. He's Tony freaking Battie, and that's what coaches are for.
The good news is, Stefasnki isn't in charge anymore. Rod Thorn is. Hit the jump to see his anti-Stefanski quote.
Via Bob Cooney ...
Emphasis is mine.
"Having been in this business for 40 years, I know you are constantly looking to upgrade your team," he said. "Even if you're the champion or a top-five team in the league. Those teams are constantly looking to upgrade talent, and when you're like us toward the other end, you certainly are. But when you have good players, you don't give good players away unless it makes sense for your team, whether short- or long-term.
I'm giddy just to hear the phrase 'long-term' leave our decision-maker's mouth. Unlike Thorn, Stefasnki never acknowledged a long-term plan post-Elton Brand. The Craig Brackins trade clearly had the future in mind, and this quote gives Sixers fans hope that Thorn won't hesitate to make a move that worsens the team in the present, but benefits them in the future. Common sense, right? Yes, but it's been a few years since Sixers fans have had a decision-maker who possessed any basketball common sense.
Click here for a complete history of Rod Thorn's acquisitions with the Nets.