Colangelo on 76ers' center logjam: 'I will not make a bad deal for this organization'
The Sixers president says he's willing to end the season with all three centers on the roster
Philadelphia 76ers president Bryan Colangelo told reporters on Monday that he's willing to keep Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor on the roster all season despite the presence of Rookie of the Year favorite Joel Embiid and the fact that all three of them play center. Colangelo said that "everybody is lined up to criticize whatever deal is made with Nerlens" and the Sixers are "trying to determine whether or not he's a fit for this roster," via Philly Mag's Derek Bodner.
Colangelo on all bigs being on the roster to end the season. "If they all are, so be it. I will not make a bad deal for this organization."— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) December 19, 2016
This comes a day after Philadelphia coach Brett Brown told reporters that Noel would be out of the rotation for the forseeable future. Colangelo contradicted that, saying that Noel isn't definitively out of the rotation, but Brown was frustrated.
"This is not a benching," Colangelo said, via CSN Philly's Jessica Camerato.
A few thoughts:
- Oh, the pressure he is under. Regardless of what Colangelo says publicly, everybody knew he wanted to balance out the roster last summer. When he didn't do that, it became a matter of whether or not he could make a move before everybody was healthy. That didn't end up happening, and now things are getting messy. This is not the most fun part of running a team.
- Colangelo has maintained for months that the Sixers don't "need" to make a trade, and that's what he's supposed to say. You never want to sound desperate to do a deal, and it's difficult to get anything resembling fair value when you have no leverage. The problem here is that, when he says he's fine with everybody sticking around all season, he's saying he's fine with letting Noel enter restricted free agency after all of this. If Noel wants out, which he appears to, then Colangelo will have to choose between letting one of Philadelphia's best players walk for nothing or matching an offer sheet on a player who doesn't want to be there. Neither scenario is appealing, so the reality is that he kind of does need to make a trade.
- It's easy to be critical of Colangelo and his comments right now, but it's still possible that he comes out of this looking OK -- or better. Maybe a team like the Portland Trail Blazers or Boston Celtics decides it must improve its interior defense and takes a shot at Noel; maybe a team like the Dallas Mavericks or Miami Heat thinks it can get the most out of Okafor. It seems like the two of them have next to no value right now, but you can't really judge how Colangelo handled this logjam until we know how the story ends. Rather than watching Embiid and Okafor continue to try to play together, though, I'd prefer to fast-forward to the trade deadline and see what, if anything, happens.
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