DiLeo says the Sixers are sticking with 'Plan A'

DiLeo says the Sixers are sticking with 'Plan A'

February 22, 2013, 3:15 pm
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No matter what happens this season with the 76ers, Andrew Bynum will always be in the middle of things.

That even goes for the seemingly minor trade-deadline deal the Sixers made with the Golden State Warriors on Thursday afternoon to acquire 6-foot-3 guard Charles Jenkins. If Bynum had been well enough to play in games through the first 52 of the season, maybe then the Sixers would have pulled the trigger on a larger deal this season.

Or then again, maybe not. The Sixers have a decision to make on Bynum this summer, and Bynum has a decision to make on the Sixers. It simply isn’t a matter of the Sixers making the best offer to the game-changing center.

“We have Plan A and I think everyone knows what A stands for. And we have Plan B and we don’t know,” general manager Tony DiLeo said on Friday morning at the Sixers’ workout site at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“If and when we get our complete team on the floor, then we can get some answers. We want to evaluate all of our players and in the summer make some decisions. We have some flexibility, we have a lot of free agents, we have a lot of good, young players and an All-Star point guard that we can build around. We have a lot of options and a lot of different ways we can go this summer.”

Even then, the decision won’t be an easy one. Bynum has not undergone surgery and has missed every game this season. He hasn’t even been involved in a proper practice yet. So when DiLeo and the basketball operations staff gets together to make decisions, the medical staff is going to be involved, too.

“When we talk about Plan A or Andrew, we all know what he can do on the court. He’s proven what he can do on the court,” DiLeo said. “It’s more of a medical issue to see if he can hold up."
Make no mistake about it, the Sixers want to first see Bynum play and then likely sign him. According to DiLeo, it's the wait for Bynum that kept the Sixers from making more moves in the weeks and days leading up to the trade deadline. When Oklahoma City sent James Harden to Houston, presumably the Sixers were involved in talks. The same goes when Memphis dealt Rudy Gay to Toronto.

It’s just that until the Sixers finally get to see Bynum play, there isn’t going to be a lot of movement.

“We have been talking to everybody, and Memphis, when they were making their trade, and Oklahoma City when they were making their big trade, we were involved in talks,” DiLeo said. “Again, at the trade deadline, we were talking with every team. But again, we have a lot of questions and we don’t have a lot of answers, so we felt it was better not to risk anything now and wait until the summer and evaluate things then.”

In the deal to get Jenkins, the Sixers risked virtually nothing. Actually, the Sixers may have even risked less than nothing. Along with Jenkins, the Sixers got the Warriors to kick in the player’s salary and some cash on top of that. In return the Warriors got a second round pick that is protected through spot No. 55, according to DiLeo. Considering there are just 60 draft picks and the Sixers have to be in the bottom five in overall record for the Warriors to claim it, chances are there isn’t going to be a pick to give up.

It was like the trade in the Will Ferrell movie Semi-Pro where the Flint Tropics got Ed Monix from the Kentucky Colonels for a washing machine. Only in this case, the Warriors didn’t get a washing machine.

“For us there was no downside to this trade,” DiLeo said. “We liked Charles a couple of years ago when he was in the draft and, as you know, we have been looking for guards. We protected the pick so we’re not going to give that pick away, [the Warriors] are paying his salary plus a little more, so there was no risk on our side. We get a free look at him, he’s a restricted free agent at the end of the season, and we can go into the summer looking to make a decision on him.”

Jenkins was averaging 1.7 points per game in 47 appearances. At Hofstra, the alma mater of former Sixer Speedy Claxton, Jenkins averaged 22.6 points per game during his senior season and 19.6 in four years at the school.

Doug Collins says he doesn’t know much about Jenkins, he’s heard some good things.

“It’s my understanding that he’s a very strong guard,” Collins said. “My buddy [Warriors’ broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald], texted me and said he was a fabulous kid and he said that from the Synergy reports he follows that [Jenkins] is the best in the NBA at scoring outside of the paint and inside of the three-point line. So he has a very good mid-range game and he’s very strong. If he or Jeremy (Pargo) or [Royal Ivey] can help, I have to get Jrue (Holiday) refreshed. Mentally, he’s a little tired right now and when have asked him to do so much for this team.”

And yet there is still so much more to do, or, at the very least, wait for. When it comes to Bynum, the Sixers are going to be patient. They really don’t have any other choice, says DiLeo.

“In the NBA there are a handful of players that can move the needle, as they say, and Andrew is one of those players that can move the needle and make a big difference on a team. That’s why we made the trade,” he said.

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