When Jerry Colangelo was hired by the Sixers to serve as the team's Chairman of Basketball operations a little over two weeks ago, many wondered how long it would take for Philadelphia to add veteran leadership to a roster with just one player (Carl Landry) born before 1990. On Tuesday, ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported that the team had met with center Chuck Hayes and point guard John Lucas III in Philadelphia. And later that night Sixers head coach Brett Brown confirmed the report, adding that the team is exploring other veteran options as well. Here's a quote, via CSNPhilly.com:
"It’s always about what’s best for the program. Maybe it’s Jerry Colangelo and bringing in that wisdom. Maybe it’s Mike D’Antoni coming in and helping me. Maybe it’s players that we’re looking at that can form a future that we have a chance to look at. It’s all on the table." – Brett Brown
At first glance, Hayes and Lucas sound like a pair of names picked at random out of Colangelo's Rolodex. But actually, they are both players with whom General Manager Sam Hinkie has a noteworthy connection. The two both began their careers with as undrafted rookie free agents with the Houston Rockets in 2005, the same year Hinkie was hired as a special assistant to then-General Manager Carroll Dawson. Hayes went on to play his first six seasons in Houston, later playing for the Kings and Raptors before briefly returning to the Rockets earlier this season for a two-game stint. Lucas played two seasons with the Rockets before spending three years bouncing between in Italy, Spain, China, and the NBA D-League; he's spent the past five years playing for a handful of NBA teams. At 32 and 33 years old, respectively, Hayes and Lucas currently find themselves out of work.
If signed, the two would be asked to serve as veteran mentors on a 1-29 Sixers team that is the youngest in league history, using their experience and example to guide the young players at their positions. On the surface, both make sense in such a role, having pieced together long, fruitful NBA careers despite being undersized and, frankly, underskilled compared to many of the players they beat out for roster spots along the way.
Brett Brown noted that nothing is imminent with either player, and with the team embarking on an 11-day, six-game road trip beginning Wednesday, it seems unlikely that the team would make a move before returning to Philadelphia on January 4.