Tag:Philadelphia 76ers
Posted on: December 30, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: December 30, 2011 11:53 am
 

Report: Magic pursuing 'rental' team for Howard

By Matt Moore

Dwight Howard is expected to be traded to the perfect spot. It'll be a team he wants to play for, since that team is the only kind he'll re-sign with this summer in free agency. It has to be a contender, or potential contender (as in the case of the Nets with Deron Williams), and a major market so he can get all the media and commercial love he desires. That's pretty clear. But the Orlando Sentinel reports that the Magic are pursuing another option. The rental game. 

 
The Magic are talking to more teams than the ones on Dwight Howard's wish list.

They will listen to anybody who is willing to take a risk and give up a few good men for Howard if he can lead them to the NBA Finals as a temp.

It's another reason why they will wait until the March 15 deadline to make a deal for Howard, after he's played 44 games in Orlando. His new team would land him for 22 games, plus the postseason.

Far-fetched?

Absolutely. Sounds more like a means to put pressure on the teams that Howard has approved (Nets, Mavericks, Lakers).

But the Magic think some teams might take a flyer, hoping they can convince Howard to re-sign with them.
via Orlando Magic: Magic to explore renting out Dwight Howard - OrlandoSentinel.com.

No one would be crazy enough to do this, right? To actually give up assets in order to nab Howard for 22 games and the playoffs, before he likely leaves? Well, there should be. That's right. I'm advocating insanity. That's how I roll.

Two factors to consider if you're in the hunt for a Dwight rental.

1. You have to move contracts that have considerable money behind them. The reason being, if Dwight doesn't re-sign, you don't want to be left without the pieces you traded, without Dwight, and a large salary situation. You're basically angling for a rebuilding. Part of the complication here is the Magic will want to dump Hedo Turkoglu or other components with salary burden. But the Magic have to know that to get back more talent like they reportedly want, they can't dump salary too in a rental situation. So why would the trading team risk rebuilding? 

2.  Because the odds of a title is worth it. Consider the Pacers. If you're Larry Bird, what are you really trying to accomplish, honestly? You want to make a good strong showing in the playoffs, maybe get hot and uspet some folks on the way to the eastern Conference Finals, to try and be in position to make one big move to get you over the hump and win the title in a wacky year. You know you're not going to be able to compete with Miami, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles, Chicago etc. every year. You're hoping to pull off a Pistons-esque title. The same goes for any team considering a rental. So if you're angling for one title, anyway, why not take your shot with the best defensive player in the league, an MVP candidate for 22 games and the playoffs. 

That's the reasoning. You also have to establish how long it will take you to get back to being decent, since you have to factor how much winning a title will bring you financially versus two-to-three years of rebuilding will hurt you. And then you have to measure that against your actual odds of winning the title this season.

All of this leads to the reality that the chances are not good. You're asking GM's and owners to take a phenomenal risk with a devastating loss if they miss, and the payoff might not even be that good. Are several years of second round appearances better financially than a title and two years of lottery dwelling?

There's no list available of teams that might be interested, but here are five teams who should consider making the jump.  

Indiana Pacers: As I mentioned earlier, the Pacers should be a team willing to make the move. Larry Bird doesn't want to do this forever. Getting Dwight gives them a chance to win the title this season, instead of waiting for years and years and years potentially without any payoff. The Pacers are deep enough to offer the Magic an option plan. Darren Collison or George Hill, Danny Granger or Paul George, and Roy Hibbert (youth, talent) vs. Jeff Foster (expiring contract, veteran experience).  That's a great package and still leaves the Pacers with whoever the Magic don't take, along with David West for scoring. 

Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks have been involved in talks this week with the Magic anyway, according to ESPN. Offering to move Josh Smith or Al Horford along with Joe Johnson puts the Magic in a great position to keep making the playoffs. The Hawks would have Jeff Teague, Kirk Hinrich, and either Smith or Horford to pair with Howard to try and make a run. With Howard having been born in Atlanta, it's got some pull and a good run might talk him into it. Not really, but sure. The biggest objection from Magic fans is that the Magic would never take on Joe Johnson's contract. But this is Otis Smith who took on Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu in one year to try and win. Meanwhile, Johnson is an All-Star, and still is an above-average-to-pretty-good player at both ends without injury issues. 

Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies may wind up moving Rudy Gay anyway if this season keeps up and they have to make a move. The Grizzlies need frontcourt depth. So get Dwight Howard! Genius! OK,it's a long shot, but if moving Gay, Sam Young or O.J. Mayo, and either Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph brings in Howard, that could make the  Grizzlies the best team in the West. They'd have defense and the best low-post-scoring combo in the league. Memphis is unlikely to be able to stay in contention for several years. Why not take the shot now?

Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers have youth, Andre Igoudala as a centerpiece, and a full compliment of picks to add in. The team would be mortgaging the long-term value they've been angling for, but coach Doug Collins has also said that eventually they want to aim to bring in a star. Make a run with Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, and Howard, and if it doesn't work out, move towards the future.

Portland Trail Blazers: Paul Allen wants to avoid the luxury tax. What better way to do that than by trading for Howard's expiring contract? OK, kidding aside, the Blazers are so loaded, they can move Wesley Matthews and either LaMarcus Aldridge or Gerald Wallace. The remaining lineup would be good enough to challenge for the West.

Are any of these teams going to take the risk? No. Because this is not a league of gambling like this. The repercussions for failure would be catastrophic. But if a team really was all about winning a title, renting Howard for 22 games and the playoffs would be the boldest move possible.
Posted on: December 27, 2011 4:45 am
 

Lou Williams confronted by gunman, buys him meal

Posted by Ben Golliverlou-will-small

Philadelphia 76ers reserve guard Lou Williams has crafted a reputation for himself as a gunslinger. On Monday night, for example, Williams hit for 25 points, including three impressive 3-pointers, while taking 17 shots and dishing two assists in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers

This week, though, Williams found himself on the other end of a real barrel.

On Saturday, Williams posted a cryptic message on Twitter. "Almost got robbed today," Williams wrote. "But homie said he recognized me and the good I've done for his hood so that made him change his mind. Wow."

On Monday, Williams explained the situation in greater detail to the Philadelphia Daily News, saying that he was confronted by a man who tapped on his car's window with a gun.
"A guy tried to rob me but decided not to because of whatever I do in the community," said Williams. "He's a Lou Williams fan, so he didn't rob me."

"There's crime everywhere," said Williams. "I was debating whether to pull off to help the guy. The gun was already out. He did all the talking, and we came up with a solution before i could really say much. I treated him to McDonald's."
Williams, 25, is in his seventh year with the 76ers. Williams runs the Louis Williams Foundation and threw a charity game during the lockout. The foundation runs an annual basketball clinic, supports an AAU team and sponsors a father and son field day.

All's well that ends well, and Williams is amazingly nonchalant about what was surely a terrifying situation. The story serves as a reminder that NBA players are both targets of violence and community agents of change every time they step in public. That's a tough balancing act that faces every professional athlete. In the most precarious of situations, Williams walked the tightrope perfectly.

Hat tip: Ball Don't Lie
Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:20 pm
 

2011-2012 Atlantic Division Preview



By Matt Moore


We're less than a week away from the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season. After an interminable lockout and a rushed free agency period, here's a first look division-by-division preview at how the league is shaping up. We finish with the Atlantic Division.

2011 Standings:
Boston Celtics, 56-26, lost second round of Eastern Conference Playoffs to Heat, 4-1
New York Knicks, 42-40, lost first round of Eastern Confernce Playoffs to Celtics, 4-0
Philadelphia 76ers, 41-41, lost first round of Eastern Conference Playoffs to Heat, 4-1
New Jersey Nets, 24-58, NBA Lottery
Toronto Raptors, 22-60, NBA Lottery

Best team: Boston Celtics

One more year. That's what the Celtics get. One more year to rule the roost. The Celtics have one more ride left with this core and then it's a sail off into the sunset while the team tries to figure out how to rebuild around Rajon Rondo. But with the extra time off, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce should be in good shape to make one more run at a title in order to validate themselves as one of the truly great teams of this era. (Pierce is already questionable for Sunday's opener vs. the Knicks.)

Without a second title, the Celtics have to be considered a disappointment. Winning a championship is supposed to validate everything, yet the Celtics were supposed to win multiple titles when the Big 3 formed. Good enough for the rest of the league is not good enough for the Celtics. But injuries and then a slow fade has denied them, as well as improvements in star power for the Heat and Lakers. The Celtics are still a dominant team, built around defense and reliable offensive weaponry. Their veteran experience helps them dismantle younger teams and their toughness helps them outlast weaker, more explosive teams.

But there's no stopping age, and this team is at the end of its run. They've got once chance, with a phenomenally weak bench, tougher competition, and continuing injury issues to try and surprise everyone and go out on top. One more chance to ride off into the sunset. Saddle up.

Worst team: Toronto Raptors

The Nets are hanging above this spot by a thread. A thin thread. A very, very thin thread. They have questions at every position except point guard and coach Avery Johnson has not taken the team by storm. But Deron Williams and the possibility of getting Dwight Howard keeps them out of the bottom.

We know who the Raptors are. They don't rebound. They don't defend. They struggle with toughness. They don't have a star. They don't have any complete offensive players. But there's reason to believe they might shake this bottom spot. Dwane Casey comes from Dallas with a determination to change the culture defensively. DeMar DeRozan has the chance to take the next step. Ed Davis looks like a beast in the making. There are good players on this roster. Unfortunately, everything hinges on everyone's least favorite Raptor, Andrea Bargnani. The fans are done with Bargnani for his lack of defense and rebounding. Unless he comes out dominant in the paint, he'll continue to be the object of scorn. With no real center on the roster (Jamal Magloire is starting), it's hard to see any real improvement for the Raps. They'll likely be at the bottom of the division, but there's always a chance they can surprise.

Biggest surprise: New York Knicks

The Knicks are going to surprise one way or another. Because if they fail to secure a top-five pick this season, it will be a letdown. Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler can't make a top-four seed? And if they do make a top-four seed, it means that the Knicks have started to play defense, which is a stunner all its own.

The Knicks are at once a title contender and a non-factor in the Eastern Conference. It's just a matter of which side of the Hudson you're on. Melo is either going to be an MVP candidate, or fail miserably at point forward. Tyson Chandler is either going to make all the difference, or be an injury-prone non-factor who can't cover for all the other weaknesses. There's little in-between. But the Knicks in a full season together with a better combination of talent should take a step forward. This is a super-team that has not been built with a clean carving. It's rough, it's wild, and it operates for the most inventive head coach in the league. The Knicks may wind up exactly where they were last season.

But the ride should be full of surprises for someone, anyway.

Three Best Players: Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Amar'e Stoudemire

I couldn't win here. I left off Carmelo Anthony, which is going to drive Knicks fans batty. I included Amar'e Stoudemire, which is going to light the fires on half the people who read this. I excluded Ray Allen, the best pure shooter in the league. Paul Pierce isn't on here despite being the clutchest of the clutch. Kevin Garnett's on here, and some people think he's past the point of no return. Andre Iguodala is one of the best all-around players in the league and he's not even close to being on here. Deron Williams' team may win 20 games this season and he's on here. And Andrea Bargnani... no. Andrea Bargnani would not be on here. But the point is this division is long on players with top level ability. There are seven to eight names you can put on here as "the best."

Biggest Question: Can the Knicks gel?

Putting together a three-headed monster all in the frontcourt is a risky proposition. There's not a player to bind it all together. No creator. The absence of a viable point guard for the Knicks, at least until Baron Davis gets healthy, means that the frontcourt has to run an offense itself. It's like asking a plane to fly itself without navigation. The Knicks were up and down all season, including during the stretch with Melo and STAT, mostly on account of not knowing how to work with one another. But with one being a high-usage small forward and the other being a high-usage power forward, can they work together? Is this a combination of players that makes sense?

The Knicks can win with this group because stars win games. But can they win the big games, can they make the jump to an elite team? More importantly, can they establish an identity going forward? The Knicks have tossed together two of the best players in the game and then added one of the best big men in terms of rebounding and defense out there. But can talent alone spell greatness? And if not... what does that mean for Mike D'Antoni?

2012 Projected Standings:
1. Boston Celtics
2. New York Knicks
3. Philadelphia 76ers
4. New Jersey Nets
5. Toronto Raptors
Posted on: December 9, 2011 7:23 pm
 

Sixers re-sign Thaddeus Young

By Matt Moore  

You can't blame the Sixers, they got their guy. The Sixers have been making noise about intending to match any offer for forward Thaddeus Young in restricted free agency, and instead of letting it get to that point, the Sixers signed Young on Friday to a five-year, $43 million deal, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

And it's a steal.

Young blossomed under coach Doug Collins. Last season he pulled in 17.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per 36 minutes, which is a terrific rate for a bench combo forward. His stellar 18.4 PER is a reflection of his increased efficiency on the floor, and his career high 54 percent field goal percentage was as much a reflection of his move away from perimeter play to attacking the rim as anything. In short, a player who once very strongly considered himself a small forward has evolved into a true combo forward. 

The only question is, what are the Sixers really planning on with this signing? They currently have Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner, Craig Brackins, Elton Brand, and Marreese Speights at forward. It's not that Young will have a hard time getting minutes. He won't. It's that the Sixers have made a significant committment to a number of players at forward and have yet to set out a plan for how to build a team around them. Maybe the answer is for Young to become a true (undersized) power forward alongside Iguodala and Turner. Perhaps they just love the production off the bench. But it's an $8 million per year investment for a team that still seems to be struggling with its identity.

Young needs improvement but at least has the years ahead of him to work into it. His rebounding isn't stellar but it's quality for his position. He's the quintessential combo forward, but that comes with a price, especially when you lack range as Young does. He shot 33 percent from 10-15 feet and 34 percent from mid-range last season. If Young's going to be a stretch four, he's going to have to improve. The Sixers giving him this deal with their current roster situation means he's going to have to develop them sooner rather than later. 

Again, there's no way to fault them for the deal. Young is 23 and on potential alone would warrant that kind of deal on the open market. The question is not whether it was a good signing. The question is what the signing means.  
Posted on: November 22, 2011 11:45 am
Edited on: November 22, 2011 11:47 am
 

Sixers ditch rabbit mascot, hire Henson Studios

By Matt Moore 

Well, the NBA season's dead, might as well kill the mascots, too. 

The Philadelphia News reports that after conferring with fans, Hip-Hop, the Sixers' bunny mascot with acrobatic style, has been ditched, nevermore to dunk off a trampoline again. From the Philly News:  
After receiving hundreds of communications from fans, nearly all of them advocating the end of a symbol of a different era, the teams new ownership will announce today that the never-beloved mascot has been put out to pasture, literally.

To spare the sensibilities of the one or two children who werent scared to death by the rabbit, the team will say that Hip Hop fell in love, married and moved away to start a family. Apparently, it either was that or announce that they were going to boil him in a pot on a really big stove in a remake of "Fatal Attraction."
via Sixers 86 their Hip Hop mascot | Philadelphia Daily News | 11/22/2011.

That's a funny little fake anecdote in a news story, right? No. Seriously. That's actually what the team released today.  There's been some suggestions that the Sixers should return to Big Shot

But wait, there's more to this breaking story! The Sixers have hired the Jim Henson Creature Shop to dream them up a new costume for someone to run around and shoot t-shirts into empty seats. (Obligatory crack about Sixers attendance: check.)
As a result, the Sixers have hired the world famous Jim Henson Creature Shop™ and Raymond Entertainment Group to recruit a new team mascot.

“We have proclaimed quite loudly in Philadelphia that we will listen to Sixers fans,” Aron said. “In the 6,500 fan comments and suggestions we received so far at NewSixersOwner.com, there was a tidal wave of commentary suggesting the Sixers needed a new mascot. We have hired an incredibly talented duo in Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and the Raymond Entertainment Group to help us develop a new mascot for the 76ers.”

The process has already begun, with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™ and Raymond Entertainment Group working in conjunction with the Sixers to find a new official team mascot.
via SIXERS: Sixers retain Jim Henson's Creature Shop & Raymond Entertainment Group to find new mascot - 11/22/2011.

"It's not easy being green seven games under .500 every year because we refuse to trade Andre Iguodala." (Obligatory Muppets joke: check.)

 Here's my question. They polled Philadelphia fans and axed the mascot because the comments were angry and cruel. Isn't that pretty much Philadelphia's reaction to everything? (Obligatory crack about Philly fans: check.)

Also, here's one. Do they have to fire the old guy? What if the new suit doesn't fit his frame? What if the old mascot was a woman and the new costume is too heavy? What if it was a big muscled guy and the new one is smaller? These are the things that keep me up at night during a lockout.

(Photo by Getty Images. Illustration by EOB. Obviously.)
Posted on: October 26, 2011 11:58 am
 

Report: Stefanski to join Raptors, finally

By Matt Moore

It was quiet news next to the announcement that Will Smith would be joining the Sixers' ownership group after the completion of the sale, but Ed Stefanski was finally, mercifully sent on his way at last week's press conference to announce the sale of the team to Joshua Harris was complete. Stefanski had randomly popped up on the radar for several GM jobs including the Raptors and Blazers, prompting speculation that he indeed was not part of the new regime's plans

But Stefanski has landed on his feet, according to Yahoo! Sports via Twitter:
Toronto is finalizing an agreement with Ed Stefanski to become Raptors Exec. VP of Basketball Operations, league sources tell Y!
via Twitter / @WojYahooNBA: Toronto is finalizing an a ....

Stefanski replaces Masai Ujiri who left over a year ago so he could put up with nine months of insane Melo nonsense. Stefanski will work under President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo, who still pulls the strings. There have been rumors that Colangelo's power was being undermined by ownership, and Stefanski's arrival could be a forced move from his higher ups. But Colangelo has enough tenure and reputation to bat down any such insinuations, and most likely just needed a No.2 man. 

Stefanski had mixed results in Philadelphia. Inconsistent teams that made the playoffs some years and didn't others, the confusing draft approach and the general lack of boldness in the approach to team building. In reality, the team isn't much different from where he took over. He did build a solid defensive squad, however, something the Raptors are very much trying to do with the addition of new head coach Dwane Casey.
Posted on: October 25, 2011 9:17 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 9:19 pm
 

Dr. J sued by bank, auctions NBA title ring

Posted by Ben Golliver

julius-erving

You fight your entire career, suiting up in two professional leagues for more than a decade, battling Larry Bird's Boston Celtics and Magic Johnson's Los Angeles Lakers to finally grab your first NBA title. You cuddle with the Larry O'Brien trophy and cherish your championship ring for more than 25 years. And, then, all of a sudden, you put it up for auction? Along with just about every other personal item and effect that might have some value? 

That's the situation that Philadelphia 76ers legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving finds himself in.

SCP Auctions informed the media on Tuesday that a large quantity of Erving memorabilia -- including his 1983 76ers championship ring -- will be auctioned off in what the site calls "certainly the most important and comprehensive basketball player collection ever brought to market."
“I am very excited to work with SCP auctions to offer my personal collection of memorabilia to collectors and fans,” said Erving. “It is my hope that the buyers of these items will derive much pleasure from their ownership. I also hope these treasures initiate much discussion inside and outside of basketball circles that help to preserve my legacy. It pleases me to support my lifelong charity, the Salvation Army, with a portion of the proceeds. My family and I thank all of the fans for their continued support throughout the years.”

Some of the marquis items from the collection include Dr. J’s 1974 and 1976 New York Nets ABA World Championship ring; 1983 Philadelphia 76ers World Championship ring; 1996 NBA’s 50 Greatest Players ring; MVP trophies from 1975-76 (ABA) and 1980-81 (NBA); 1977 and 1983 NBA All-Star game MVP trophies; 1979, 1981 and 1985 Eastern Conference All-Star game-worn uniforms, 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers game-worn road uniform; and his final game-worn jersey from Game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference playoffs.
The collection can be viewed online here.

The news comes -- coincidentally (or not) -- on the same day that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Georgia Primary Bank is suing Erving for more than $200,000.
Basketball legend Julius Erving owes more than $200,000 on a loan with Georgia Primary Bank, according to a lawsuit filed in Fulton Superior Court. The bank filed a lawsuit Oct. 18 against Erving, 61, and his corporation, The Erving Group Inc. of Atlanta.

Erving's company was given a $1 million line of credit in April 2009, which was due the following April, according to the lawsuit obtained by the AJC. Erving used a Gwinnett County home as collateral to secure the loan, the lawsuit states. In August 2010, the line of credit was reduced to $750,000 and the maturity date extended to July 24, the bank stated in the suit. But, an outstanding balance of $205,277.84 has not been paid, despite a demand letter for payment sent Sept. 29.

Erving, better known by his nickname Dr. J, moved to the Atlanta area in 2008, about two years after purchasing the Heritage Golf Club, near the Gwinnett-DeKalb county line. The AJC reported in April 2010 that the golf club was in foreclosure.
I guess this is about as depressing as the NBA gets. I'd like to say that this is the first time or that it will be the last time, but we all known that's not the case.

Memories and mementos only become available like this once in a lifetime, at most. So all you Julius Erving impersonators and look-alikes out there better go crazy while the gettin' is good. 

Hat tip: Ball Don't Lie

Posted on: October 19, 2011 9:58 am
 

New Sixers owners plan to drop ticket prices

By Matt Moore

When billionaire Joshua Harris purchased a theoretical basketball team (considering they don't actually play basketball right now), it brought some questions about the league's claims about the dismal state of affairs. After all, if Harris is investing so much in a new team along with owners in Atlanta, Detroit, and less recently Golden State, are things really that bad? Whether it's a reaction those questions or a gesture of goodwill from the new ownership, Sixers fans are about to reap the rewards. 

From Philly.com:
1. The Sixers announced lower single-game ticket prices for the upcoming season. Over 8,800 seats will be significantly reduced for single-game tickets during the 2011-12 season. The new single-game structure results in 51 percent of seating being recuded. Certain lower-level seats that were $54 last season will be $29 this upcoming season.

"We are committed to providing our fans with the most entertaining in-game experience in the NBA, and also one of the most affordable," Aron said. "At the Sixers, we want to be on the side of the fan, so in these tough economic times when family budgets are strained, we decided to dramatically lower ticket prices."
via 76ers new ownership takes stage | Philadelphia Inquirer | 10/18/2011. 

It's a good thing regardless of intent for the owners to do this. The fans have been put out more by the lockout than anyone who isn't employed by the NBA. They're the ones struggling with the economy but still wanting to give their money to teams. It's a good way to start your relationship with the city. Now we'll just have to say whether some changes to the team can make the Sixers an even better bargain. 

(HT: SLAM)
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com