A Measured Reminder About the Sixers' Offseason Options

A Measured Reminder About the Sixers' Offseason Options

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@SixersCEOAdam
Adam Aron Far from easy in NBA to land right free agent or consummate great trade. It will be interesting to see how much progress is made off-season.
May 31 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Two months ago, I took exception that Sixers CEO Adam Aron would ask fans who the team should keep or jettison for the following season in the midst of a losing streak. 
One of my arguments, though not my most important argument in that case, pointed to how the finances of a basketball team existing under the most complicated CBA in North American sports should not be at all influenced by the whims of fan frustration.
And if I'm going to criticize Aron in that regard, then I would be remiss not to praise him in this instance.

Much like the last time we visited an Aron-Twitter scenario, this tweet was once again born from the management's public admission that it knows work still needs to be done to turn the Sixers into a real contender.
But, unlike last time, his tweets about the team's future were accompanied with the reminder that even hard work and the best of intentions don't guarantee success or, more importantly, the ideal pieces to build a winner.
Since the Sixers' Game 7 loss to the Celtics, the refrains of "trade Iguodala" and "amnesty Brand" have grown louder and more insistent. That said, those sentiments should really be met with the following responses: "for what?" and "for what immediate benefit?"
Trading Iguodala, everyone should be reminded, does not necessarily equal any extra salary cap space given the rules that govern the amount of cash allowed to be traded back and forth, even though last year's reworked CBA now makes it easier for teams to swing uneven deals. Cap concerns aside, the actual talent the team receives in return should be a more important priority then simply moving a player out of town. Sure, the divisive forward's value might currently be the highest it's been in terms of what he could garner in a trade, but a team would still have to make an offer that benefits the Sixers more than keeping Iguodala for it to be taken seriously. Considering the following question: how might Iguodala's contract, combined with his skill set, alter his value come the 2013 trade deadline?
The same logic goes for Elton Brand, who has just one year left on his deal. Unless the Sixers are on the verge of landing a franchise-changing free agent or pulling of a blockbuster deal that requires the extra cash, what cause do the Sixers really have to amnesty Brand now? If he had more than one season left on the deal, this conversation would obviously be different, but is it worth expending the clause just to say it was used? He, too, could actually become an intriguing trade piece for the team as the prospect of an $18 million dollar expiring contract could draw some interest around the league.
The central argument here is that there is plenty more that goes into these decisions beyond "he's old" or "he makes too much money" or "he's a poor shooter." The real question should be: Will part
ing ways with Iguodala and/or Brand actually improve the Sixers' long-term outlook and how?
Just as that argument applies to Brand and Iguodala, it applies to any talent the team could conceivably bring into the fold. Think about the names the Sixers have spent a whole lot of money on in the last decade and consider how those deals worked out -- Brand, by the way, the guy so many want to amnesty, is obviously included in that discussion.
In this case, it isn't about who's available to sign, trade or amnesty, it's about how a player fits with a team's rotation and finances. Change for the sake of change seems far too short-sighted and has proven so for this franchise in the past. 
Yes, there's the idea that the team could totally dismantle and start over, but that takes a conscious and deliberate decision to implode a roster so as to "bottom out" in the mere hopes of landing a star draft pick. That process would require a whole lot more than getting rid of two of the guys who made the Sixers competitive this year and would, more than likely, do the same next year.
So, for as much as criticized Aron for -- what I saw as -- his playing to the frustrations of a fan base back in March, I applaud him now and join him in reminding that same base that prudence should not be confused with failure.

Sixers draw high praise from Warriors after loss to NBA leader

Sixers draw high praise from Warriors after loss to NBA leader

BOX SCORE

The Warriors are the blueprint of a total team in the NBA. They have a star-studded starting lineup and a top sixth man with the positional versatility that creates hard-to-combat matchups.

Yet, as the Warriors notched their 50th win of the season, 119-108, in a collaborative effort against the Sixers, they gave credit to the potential they see in their opponent, even when Brett Brown didn't have his key pieces on the court Monday (see Instant Replay).

"They play hard," Stephen Curry said. "They have some talent to work around. Hopefully they have some consistency with their roster going forward and getting guys healthy. One thing about them, you've got to compliment their energy and effort and fight every night they play."

Facing the Warriors with a full squad is challenging enough. The Sixers did it shorthanded without Joel Embiid, who is out indefinitely with a left knee contusion (see story). They also are less than a week removed from trading starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova and the defensive-minded Nerlens Noel.

"You've got to give this team a lot of credit," Draymond Green said. "They're going to be really, really, really good. I mean, they're missing Embiid and Ben Simmons and they're really on their way."

With 10 available players, including Justin Anderson, who has had just one shootaround to actually get a run in with the team, the Sixers fought until the final buzzer sounded. Dario Saric led the Sixers with 21 points and seven assists, while also collecting seven rebounds. Gerald Henderson scored 16 and both Robert Covington and Richaun Holmes added 15 (see feature highlight). Covington also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

"They play the right way," Klay Thompson said. "They made it tough on us tonight. I'm excited to see their team when Embiid and Simmons are healthy. It should be a scary frontcourt, and with Saric. They're heading in the right direction. They'll only get better this June because they have some high picks. It's a bright future in Philly."

The Sixers held the Warriors to 6 for 29 three-point shooting (20.7 percent), including an 0-for-11 outing by Curry. This was the third time this season and only the 37th time in his career Curry missed all of his three-point attempts.

"I think he had an off night," Brown said. "I think at times we got lucky with them as a team. They didn't shoot it the way the team normally would shoot it. Some of it is I give our guys credit."

Curry took his uncharacteristic performance, which included a pair of air-balls, in stride.

"The weatherman said it was a low-pressure system that was coming and I forgot to adjust," Curry said. "One thing, [I] don't ever get down on myself. Obviously that's why I got 11 of them up and not make one. You still have confidence the next one's going in."

Still, the Warriors turned to team basketball to pull away with the win. While they struggled from long range, they found other ways to run up the scoreboard, including shooting 33 for 39 at the free throw line.

Kevin Durant led all players with 27 points to go with eight rebounds. Green recorded a 14-point, 11-assist double-double and six boards. Thompson scored 21 points and Zaza Pachulia added 16. And at the end of the night, Curry still finished with 19 points in spite of his three-point woes.

"We've been doing this for a while together now and just try to find ways to get it done," Green said. "Obviously you've got to do a lot more on the defensive end to get stops, and try to create more offense. I think it was a good effort from everybody tonight to chip in."

Added Curry: "For us to still have the moxie to withstand that and still pretty much have the lead the whole game and allow our defense to get us a win tonight was kind of our M.O."

The Warriors are a perennial title contender thanks to their balanced roster and depth of weapons. The Sixers are in the beginning stages of working toward that goal. After Monday's game, the NBA's strongest example of "team" appreciated the direction in which Sixers are moving.

"Putting this franchise back together," Green said, "it's amazing to see."

Best of NHL: Ryan White scores in winning debut with Wild

Best of NHL: Ryan White scores in winning debut with Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Mikael Granlund beat two defenders to find open ice and wrap the winning shot around goalie Jonathan Quick just 12 seconds into overtime, giving the Minnesota Wild a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.

Granlund's 20th goal of the season gave goalie Devan Dubnyk his NHL-leading 33rd win and the Wild their 15th comeback victory. They answered all four goals in regulation by the Kings, from Nick Shore, Tanner Pearson, Jake Muzzin and Marian Gaborik.

Jason Zucker's spinning wrist shot midway through the third period tied the game for the Wild, who also had goals from Nino Niederreiter, Jordan Schroeder and Ryan White in his debut. White and Martin Hanzal were acquired in a trade with Arizona the night before (see full recap).

Kucherov's hat trick carries Lightning past Sens
TAMPA, Fla. -- Nikita Kucherov scored three power-play goals in the second period and the Tampa Bay Lightning kept their fading playoff hopes alive with a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.

Kucherov had the second hat trick of his career and added an assist in the third period. Jonathan Drouin assisted all three of his goals and Victor Hedman assisted on two.

A day after trading goaltender Ben Bishop to Los Angeles and just hours after trading forward Brian Boyle to Toronto, the Lightning improved to 6-1-2 over their past nine games.

The Senators, who won at Florida on Sunday night, are 6-6 over their past 12 games (see full recap).

Galchenyuk lifts Canadiens over Devils in OT
NEWARK, N.J. -- Alex Galchenyuk scored on a power play at 2:54 of overtime and the Montreal Canadiens rallied from a two-goal third-period deficit to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 on Monday night.

Max Pacioretty scored twice in the final 11:23 of regulation to tie the game and Alexander Radulov added a goal for the Canadiens, who won consecutive games for the first time since early January. Al Montoya had 34 saves for Montreal.

Kyle Palmieri, John Moore and Travis Zajac scored for the Devils, who have lost four straight games (0-2-2), the past two in overtime. Cory Schneider made 29 saves.

Galchenyuk beat Schneider with a shot from between the circles less than a minute after Damon Severson was penalized for hooking (see full recap).