Over the past three years, many NBA veterans dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers abhorred the idea of actually playing for the team.
Conversely, Carl Landry immediately embraced the notion of putting on a Sixers' uniform - so much so that he even changed his Twitter avatar shortly after he was traded from the Sacramento Kings in early July.
Philadelphia Here I Come…#Sixers— Carl Landry (@CarlLandry) July 2, 2015
Then again, Landry isn't your typical NBA veteran. A 6-9 forward who spends much of his battling bigger/faster/stronger players in the post, the 32-year-old Landry has shown that he'll do whatever it takes to stay in the league.
"I know my role," said Landry in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer back in March. "I've got to be the vet guy that comes and gives knowledge that's always positive."
Landry dispensed his wisdom to more than one Sixers-related team this season. In mid-December, while working his way into playing shape after offseason wrist surgery, Landry spent two weeks with the Delaware 87ers. Most of the players in the 76ers' D-League affiliate were still in high school back when Landry was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in 2007, but they were eager to learn whatever they could from the Sixers' power forward.
"Carl was tremendous," said Sevens' head coach Kevin Young when asked about Landry's brief stint in Delaware. "Being able to just talk to the guys and say things to them that... I mean, I can say it until I'm blue in the face, but I'm not a 10-year NBA vet like he is. He was awesome."
Landry hit the ground running once he returned to Philadelphia, scoring 10 points and grabbing five rebounds in his season debut against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 23. He scored 10 or more in five of his first seven games as a Sixer, and figured to be the team's first big off of the bench going forward.
However, for various reasons (opposing matchups, Brett Brown's desire to get more minutes for Richaun Holmes), Landry slipped to the fringe of the Sixers' rotation in late January. But by the time March rolled around, Landry had re-established himself a fixture in the 76ers' lineup.
Over the final six weeks of the season, the former Purdue star scored 16 points or more on nine separate occasions. Landry's best game of the year was his last: a 22-point, nine-rebound performance in a 107-93 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on April 5.
If he was eight years younger, Landry would be the perfect complement to the more "traditional" centers the Sixers have on the roster. His mid-range jumper opens up the floor for the rest of the team's bigs, and given that Joel Embiid is unlikely to play 82 games next season, the team would be wise to keep Landry around for one more year.
Landry's salary cap figure for the 2016-17 season is a very reasonable $6.5 million, and it would be a shame to part ways with someone who has proven that he can still be productive in limited action (9.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG in 15.8 MPG this past season). Carl Landry is a keeper, and has earned a spot on the Sixers' roster next season.
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