Tag:Philadelphia 76ers
Posted on: August 6, 2011 2:25 pm
Edited on: August 6, 2011 2:32 pm

'Chocolate Thunder' name came from Stevie Wonder

By Matt Moore

So how exactly did this:


become linked with this:


From Dime
Dime: How did the nickname Chocolate Thunder originate?

DD: Stevie Wonder used to come the ball games and they would have a guy sitting with him. And the guy would be holding on to his arm, telling him what’s going on, and he would say, “Hey, the big chocolate guy just put down a thunder dunk. The chocolate guy with another monster dunk.” And Stevie Wonder actually gave me the nickname Chocolate Thunder. So a guy who never saw me can give me that name. I think I can wear that well. I don’t even know if he remembers, it’s been so long, but I’ll keep that.
via Dime Q&A: Darryl Dawkins Reveals The Origin of His Nickname And Recalls His First Dunk | Dime Magazine (dimemag.com) : Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers.

 That's a pretty spectacular story. 

If you're unfamiliar with the work of Dawkins, he's considered one of the game's all-time great dunkers. He's widely considered to be one of the first truly remembered players of "potential" who never quite capitalized on it. Dawkins' highest PER came when he was 21, averaging just 11.7 points per game in 25 minutes of play time. His best overall season saw him average 14.7 points and 8.9 rebounds in 1980. He was traded as parf of the Sixers' moves which led to acquiring Moses Malone, which led to their championship. In short, moving Dawkins was part of what they had to do in order to win a title.

Yet, with his dunk-naming, prolific style, and unbelievable swag (that over-used phrase is apt here; come on, the man said that he was from the planet Lovetron), his left his mark on the game. He's a cult figure in the history of the game, and mentioned because what he could do not because of what he did do. In a way, Dawkins stands out as the rare player whose promise actually overshadowed his lack of accomplishments, instead of the other way around. 

Here's an interesting mental exercise. Given their respective careers, say that Gilbert Arenas' career ended right now. Who would have had the better career?

Both had brilliant nicknames (Agent Zero vs. Chocolate Thunder). Both were known more for their personalities than their play. Both never lived up to their fullest potential. Arenas had the better individual seasons, but Dawkins went deeper in the playoffs. Arenas was at one point top 15 in the league, which Dawkins never was. Dawkins had trouble with drugs, Arenas had trouble with guns, and teammates, and defecated in a teammate's shoe. Arenas could take over a game, but rarely did, and suffered from injuries which kept him out for most of the past four years. Dawkins never lived up to his potential and at one point was playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the Continental Basketball Association after his retirement. 

Dawkins was traded for a first-round pick. Arenas was traded for Rashard Lewis.

This goes round and round. It's an interesting debate for the next time you're in the sports bar. Before you have it, though, put Stevie Wonder on the jukebox, won't you?

HT: TBJ via PBT 
Posted on: August 2, 2011 4:42 pm

Spencer Hawes not a fan of David Stern's salary

Posted by Royce Young

So, evidently David Stern makes a crapton of money. Somewhere in the $23 million a year neighborhood. As Ben Golliver noted, just one NBA player makes more than that -- Kobe Bryant who will receive $25.2 million for 2011-12.

(Three players make more than $20 million -- Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and... Rashard Lewis.)

With this whole lockout fiasco based around the league claiming something like $340-370 million in losses, with 22 teams losing money because player salaries are out of control, Stern's salary is pretty relevant material.

And you can be sure players have taken notice. One vocal one being Spencer Hawes of the 76ers. He tweeted:

Hard not to appreciate his position. Stern is widely regarded as the best commissioner in sports and has been in charge of the NBA since 1984. It's not really THAT absurd for him to make a monster salary running the league. Still, with this labor dispute over out of control contracts and salaries, the fact Stern is making a killing raises eyebrows.

I don't want to say Spencer Hawes just made the worst mistake of his life, but if you hear about him signing a no opt-out contract to play professionally in Siberia, I think you'll know why.

Posted on: July 20, 2011 9:21 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 9:33 am

Sixers' Turner dedicates summer to working on J

By Matt Moore

Evan Turner didn't exactly look like the No. 2 overall pick last year for Philadelphia. He wasn't terrible, by any stretch of the imagination. He just didn't seem special, which is your biggest concern with a player like Turner, older than some of the prospects behind him.

Turner showed some progress as the year went on but was then inexplicably benched during the Sixers' late run to ensure the playoffs for Andres Nocioni (we're still trying to figure that one out),. He then managed to play fairly impressively against the Heat in the Sixers' first-round exit. But it was clear there was room for Turner to improve. 

And Turner knows it.

CSNPhilly brings us the report that Turner has been working with "shot doctor" Herb Magee on getting his percentage back to where it was in college. From CSNPhilly:
“He is a good shooter, actually a very good shooter,” Magee stressed. “We go 15 feet, we go off the dribble, we go foul line and he is very effective. His problem is when he steps back to three his guide hand is in the way, so we have been working on it from the vantage point of shooting the 15-, 16-footer the same way we shoot the 22.9 shot.”

“Everybody had told me what a terrific fellow he was,” Magee said. “He may be an even better guy than people told me. This does not work unless he is into it and if he wasn’t into it we wouldn’t have made it past the first day, but he is into it. He’s a smart guy, he asks good questions and he wants to get better. It is going to be successful.”
via 'Shot Doctor' Magee working with Sixers' Turner.

The Sixers need Turner to produce offensively to justify finally moving Andre Iguodala, a good offensive weapon. But since Turner is unlikely to wind up as the all-around producer Iguodala is, he'll need to compensate with pure offense. And that means knocking down j's since he doesn't have the body or experience to produce in other ways yet. It's good to see Turner focusing on this part of his game during the lockout, as he needs such a big jump.

The post also says Turner is pursuing his degree from Ohio State, just as many NBA players are working on their degrees with all this free time on their hands. Idle hands, and what not. Turner is working to set himself up well in the league for years to come, in ways both on and off the court.

For a young player suddenly without a team, trying to find his NBA identity, that's the best angle he can have. Positive signs all for Sixers fans. 

Posted on: July 14, 2011 1:16 am
Edited on: July 14, 2011 9:10 am

Elton Brand making a movie about 2Pac

Posted by Matt Moore

The bizarre saga of Elton Brand leaving the Clippers in 2009 had an interesting wrinkle. Brand was surrendering his proximity to Hollywood. Brand had long held an interest in film, along with friend Baron Davis (who Brand had helped recruit to join the Clippers before Brand bailed for Philadelphia). Of course, his downturn in production ruined any chance of being able to pull the strings all the way in Philly. But now, Brand's returning to his love, and helping to produce a film based on the life of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer
That's probably why the Sixers forward is trying his luck in the movie industry again, this time signing on as a co-producer for the upcoming film "Tupac," a biopic on the life and death of the West Coast hip-hop artist.
via Big-screen Brand - Philly.com.

The Inquirer notes that Brand's working for Morgan Creek Productions, and the film has an established director (Antoine Fuqua of "Training Day" fame). Brand's development company in L.A. had several lawsuits brought against it, so this is a second effort to do things right. Brand's making all sorts of comebacks, with a solid year for the Sixers last year that helped Philadelphia make the playoffs. Now he's got something to fill his time during the lockout. 

It's good to diversify your interests.
Category: NBA
Posted on: July 11, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 2:08 pm

Iguodala doesn't think he's getting traded

Posted by Royce Young

Andre Iguodala's trade situation in Philadelphia has been "will they, or won't they?" for quite some time. Lately, it has trended more towards "when will they?"

Sixers president Rod Thorn admitted the team has been shopping Iguodala around some and according to about a billion reports, Iguodala has been rumored in trades sending him to Golden State, to Los Angeles, to Orlando or to Atlanta. And that's just the ones that have leaked out. 

But Iguodala, a key part of last season's playoff bunch, says he wants to stay in Philly and really thinks he just might.

"I definitely enjoy being here," Iguodala told CSNPhilly.com. "Evan Turner and I were speaking late last night. We had a really good conversation about how we can really play well together, how we can make each other better so we are looking forward to next year. We even talked about what we were going to do after practice next year. So I am definitely looking forward to improving myself and playing ball."

The Sixers are about to turn over to a new ownership group, probably sometime this week. Potentially the new group could have a new vision for the roster (read: looking to cut costs) and could try and deal Iguodala. Still, he's not expecting anything.

"I can't say I would be surprised, because I wouldn't be surprised, but I am not expecting it to happen," he said.

The hook of trading Iguodala is that some cap space is cleared, Evan Turner would have a bit more room to develop and with his value still high, the 76ers would get a nice return. But at the same time, we're talking probably the premier wing defender in the league, a guy that can scored 12-15 points a game, a great teammate, a solid rebounding and passer and someone you made a surprising run to the postseason with as a centerpiece. Do you really want to deal him?

Maybe that's what Iguodala's thinking when he says he doesn't see himself going anywhere. Maybe it just isn't making a ton of sense to him either.

Posted on: July 9, 2011 12:17 am
Edited on: July 10, 2011 10:21 pm

What teams risk in a lockout: Atlantic Division

Posted by Matt Moore

Talk of losing an entire season is a bit ridiculous to us. There's just way too much at stake. Money, momentum, fan support, money, loyalty, money -- it's just hard to imagine losing any games much less a whole season.

But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise. We continue with the Atlantic Division.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics have already started keeping an eye on the future past this core. Their trade of Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green and the Clippers' draft pick were both aimed at the future. In 2012-2013, the Celtics have less than $30 million comitted. But their best shot at a title is now. Losing 2011-2012 ends the Big 3 era in Boston. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen's contracts would expire just as their ability to anchor a championship team also goes the way of the dodo. Losing next season means they wind up with a single championship for all that money invested, all that excitement created. 

On top of that, no city needs the current structure to hold as much as Boston. The ability to outspend the small markets under a flex-cap, using its big market status combined with its superiority as a historical powerhouse are both tied to the current luxury-tax system. Savvy spending, reasonable contracts, creative maneuvers? Does any of that sound like the team whose current core is the product of Kevin McHale pitching his old team a favor?

New Jersey Nets

Mikhail Prokhorov did not get into this business to lose an entire season, the last he has Deron Williams under contract before an extension he hopes to sign him to, and then begin to build a contender under a system which negates every advantage moving his team to Brooklyn provides. But that's the reality that faces the Russian mogul.

Deron Williams is the big key for the Nets. They sent a fortune in the trade for Williams, with the understanding they would convince him of their grand vision and build around him on his next contract. It was a gamble. But they need the 2011-2012 season to convince Williams that the plan works, that the vision is in place, that they can succeed as the team Williams wants to commit to. Without the 11-12 season, Williams will end up entering free agency with his only time as a Net filled with failure. He may wind up with more wins with his team in Turkey than he won with New Jersey.

From there, Prokhorov would actually be better suited to a system that allows for overspending. If small market teams succeed under the new CBA, his advantage is leveraged. And in such a scenario, New York's power would be amplified within the market. If you're getting paid the same amount regardless, going to the team with the most cache is the best idea.

New York Knicks

Speaking of the Knicks, they have quite a bit to lose in this scenario. A harsher cap drives up the likelihood they won't be able to build effectively around Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, if at all. They're already struggling to fill in the gaps (as Donnie Walsh put it in his conference call after stepping down), with a lower spending ceiling that job only gets more difficult. Dolan has failed to succeed when he's broken the bank open. What happens when he can't spend his way out of a problem?

Bigger than that, however, are the risks of the actua lockout. Amar'e Stoudemire is an injury risk. Despite the fact that he's had no problems since microfracture surgery five years ago, scouts and execs are still hesitant about him. Stoudemire is talking about heading to Israel to play during the lockout. Any uninsured play could wind up wiping out time for Stoudemire which devastates the Knicks' prospects for contention. They need to have the stars available so build around, and another year to see what direction they need to go to build a complete team. Losing the season is a disaster. 

Philadelphia 76ers

Hey, look! They could spend a whole year thinking more about whether to trade Andre Iguodala! They haven't really done enough of that so far.

The lockout could actually help the Sixers on two fronts. First, their attendance was terrible again last season despite making the playoffs. They need the kind of financial overhaul the lockout aims to create. Second, losing the 2011-2012 season means they lose out on a year where they are on the books to pay Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, and Andres Nocioni (remember him?) over $37 million next season. They can probably do without that with a fanbase that still hasn't bought in.

Elton Brand has an early termination option for 2012-2013, but he is unlikely to exercise it. Instead, the Sixers will be hoping for the amnesty clause to allow them out from under that final year of Brand's contract.

If any team could use all of the ramifications of the lockout, it's the Sixers, big market or not.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors won't be winning the title any time soon. Their huge contracts won't be moving off the books any time soon. Their fanbase is still angry over giving Andrea Bargnani his extension and the damage done by Chris Bosh's departure.

So pretty much the Raptors are fine with however the lockout works out. Lose the season, they get Jose Calderon into a contract year, and have more time to come up with inventive ways to ditch Andrea Bargnani, plus Jonas Valanciunas is available to come over from Europe. A new salary cap may mitigate the uphill climb they face with their market and location.

They're pretty much fine with however this shakes out.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 5:14 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 5:27 pm

Report: 76ers sale to be done in a couple days

Posted by Royce Young

About a month ago, we told you that all indications were that a 76ers sale was imminent. And according to Bloomberg, it's getting even more imminent.

The Philadelphia 76ers likely will be sold to a group led by Joshua Harris, a director at Apollo Global Management LLC, in the next few business days, two people familiar with the negotiations said.

Harris will pay about $280 million, according to one of the people, who were granted anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the sale publicly. Harris co-founded Apollo Management in 1990, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and a master’s degree from the Harvard Business School.

Apollo went public in March.

It will definitely be an interesting sale, especially because the league is currently locked out, claiming major losses and a system that is broken. So the price tag for the 76ers will certainly be something the union and others will have an eye on.

Forbes.com recently valued the 76ers at $330 million, good for No. 17 out of the NBA's 30 teams. The Sixers went 41-41 last season and were ushered out of the first round of the playoffs by eventual Eastern Conference champion, the Miami Heat.

Category: NBA
Posted on: July 6, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 7:30 pm

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver.

Armen Gilliam, a former No. 2 overall pick of the Phoenix Suns in 1987, died Wednesday. He was 47.

Police say Gilliam collapsed of a heart attack while playing basketball at LA Fitness in Collier Township, Penn. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead.

Gilliam, nicknamed "The Hammer," starred at UNLV on the 1987 team that won a record 38 games and made it to the Final Four.

Over at CBSSports.com's Eye on College Basketball, Matt Norlander notes that he leaves a big legacy in Las Vegas.
At Vegas, Gilliam was the seventh-highest scorer in school history. He put up 1,855 points in his three-year career, and scored a still-standing record of 903 points in the Final Four season of 1986-87. The team was 93-11 while he was there. He averaged 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds as a Runnin' Rebel.

"I'm all shook up," former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian told the Las Vegas Sun today. "He was such a great person. He would take the shirt of his back for you."

Besides the Suns, he also played for the Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz. He retired in 2000.

On Wednesday afternoon, Phoenix Suns president Lon Babby issued the following statement.
“On behalf of the entire Phoenix Suns family, I’d like to express our sadness at the news of the passing of Armen Gilliam and offer our condolences to his family.  Armen will always have a place in Suns history as only the second No. 2 overall pick for the franchise, but the rugged, tough enforcer known as ‘The Hammer’ on the court will be remembered by his former teammates and our fans for his easygoing nature off the court.”
Gilliam briefly ended his retirement, playing for the Pittsburgh Xplosion (Gilliam is from Pittsburgh), an expansion team in the American Basketball Association, in the 2005-2006 season. He was also the team's coach.
In his 13 NBA seasons, Gilliam, a 6-9 forward, averaged 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He was always one of the most powerful, physical players in the league, hence the nickname "The Hammer." He was a strong dunker, and while he never really lived up to his draft position, he had a solid 13-year NBA career.

And finally, a did you know: Gilliam's first name was spelled Armon in college and first few years in the NBA, but he later changed it to Armen.

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