If Sixers' Management Trades Iguodala For Tracy McGrady, Fire Them All

Bryan Toporek@@btoporekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2010

10 Feb 2002:  Tracy McGrady #1 of the Orlando Magic and Allen Iverson #3 of the Philadelphia 76''ers and the Eastern Conference team share a laugh on the bench  during the NBA All-Star game at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.    The West team won 135-120.   Digital Image   Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In a recent blog post by ESPN's Chris Broussard, he floated the possibility of the Philadelphia 76ers trading Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert for Tracy McGrady's expiring contract.

If the Sixers' management goes through this deal, they all deserve to lose their jobs.

Broussard wrote, "Believe it or not, sources say Philadelphia has not completely ruled out a McGrady-for-Andre Iguodala deal, if only because if the losing continues, Sixers ownership may order a fire sale."

I don't know what team the management has been watching this past month, but the Sixers have started to show signs of life.

Exactly one month ago today, the Sixers blew out the Golden State Warriors at home to the tune of 117-101 , a win that snapped a 12-game losing streak for Philly.

Including that win over the Warriors, the Sixers have gone 7-8 in their past 15 games, highlighted by a 98-97 win over the Boston Celtics back on Dec. 18.

Compared to their paltry 5-18 record over the rest of the season, I'd say it's pretty obvious that the Sixers have made considerable progress over the past month.

Their turnaround hasn't been entirely surprising, either, as they've finally gotten all of the pieces of their roster (mainly) healthy and playing together for the first time all season.  

They signed Allen Iverson back in early December as a response to the six weeks that PG Lou Williams was expected to miss, and young PF Marreese Speights partially tore tendons in his knees right before the Sixers were reportedly considering moving him into Elton Brand's spot in the starting lineup.

Regardless, with Iverson, Williams, and Speights all back on the court together, the Sixers have only been blown out twice in their past 15 games: a 97-76 road loss to Utah at the start of their five-game road trip on Dec. 26, and a head-scratching 104-88 loss to the L.A. Clippers after knocking off Portland and Sacramento in back-to-back games.  In all of their other losses, they've kept the bleeding to a minimum and have managed to stay competitive through the final minutes.

In fact, the Sixers lost three of those past eight losses on a final shot, including last night's 93-92 loss to the Knicks.  

So why, in God's name, would the management trade away the team's most versatile player (Andre Iguodala) for a $23 million expiring contract?

All Iguodala has done this season is average 18.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.95 steals per game.  For a shooting guard  to post average rebound and assist numbers like that...the Sixers should be trying to hold onto Iguodala for dear life.

After all, they were the ones who re-upped his contract to be a 6-year, $80 million deal last summer.  (Then again, if the Elton Brand contract proves anything, it's that GM Ed Stefanski got a little too money drunk last summer.)

While Iguodala's not a player on the "top banana" level of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Carmelo Anthony, there also aren't that many guys in the NBA averaging 18/7/6.  He's a great  No. 2 option for any team, and he's being paid accordingly.  

Now, I understand that the Sixers have been trying to trade Sammy Dalembert for the past two years, but his 6-year, $58 million contract has certainly complicated matters (thank you once again, Billy King).

But with Iverson back on the team, Sammy's been playing some seriously inspired basketball as of late.  He posted a 20/20 game against Washington last Tuesday, had a double-double with five blocks the next game against Toronto, and grabbed 21 boards last night against the Knicks.

(I also can't make mention of Sammy, a native Haitian, without saying a prayer for all the people devastated by the earthquake in Haiti.  Dalembert's foundation  is assisting people affected by the earthquake, and if you're looking for a worthy cause in the start of the new year...we now return to your regularly scheduled Sixers' column.)

Sammy's also been the only real defensive presence the Sixers have down low.  Sneeze on Marreese Speights and he'll clear out of the post, and Elton Brand has never been renowned for his defense.

While Dalembert's offensive game still needs some polishing, his work in the post gives the Sixers a defensive backbone they'd otherwise lack by trading for McGrady.  And don't forget, Dalembert turns into $13 million worth of an expiring contract next season.  That's an asset in and of itself.

What would McGrady bring to the Sixers, besides cap relief next year?  

We're talking about a guy who's never made it out of the first round of the playoffs in his 12-year NBA career.  The Sixers have managed to get knocked out of the first round these past few years just fine without McGrady, thank you.

What the hell are they trying to do, bring the 2002 NBA All-Star team back for another go-around?  With McGrady, Brand, and Iverson, they wouldn't be too far off.

Why trade away the team's "glue guy" and the only defensive option down low for cap relief?  

The trade certainly wouldn't make the Sixers better this year, so throw that excuse out the window.  In fact, ESPN's Trade Machine  projects the Sixers losing 14 more games with this trade, while the Rockets would win four more.  And don't you usually at least try to improve when you're going through with a trade?

In fact, any slight playoff hopes these Sixers currently harbor would roll over and die the minute the McGrady-for-Iguodala/Dalembert trade was announced.  

So it's pretty clear this trade is strictly financially motivated.  Okay, good to know.  If this trade does go down, the Sixers' execs better acknowledge that right off the bat.  I don't want a "We're thankful for Sammy and Andre, but Tracy will fill in some missing pieces" B.S. press conference.

But this trade doesn't even make much sense financially!  

If you're talking about albatross contracts on the Sixers, the names Brand and Dalembert would come up long before Iguodala.  An average of $13 million per year for 18/7/6 and two steals per game is pretty fair for Iggy, considering that Rashard Lewis, who averages 17/6/2 over his career, notched a 6-year, $110 million-plus deal from the Magic two years ago.

Instead, what about how the Sixers are paying a guy $80 million over five years to average 13.9 points and 6.6 rebounds?  Elton Brand is the one the Sixers should be hoping to ship out to any willing suitor.

So why not counter the Rockets by insisting that Brand must be involved?  If they're willing to absorb the $57 million left on Iguodala's contract, Brand's $50 million over the course of the next three years shouldn't be a deal-breaker.

Without Yao down low and 6-foot-6 Chuck Hayes as their starting center, the Rockets desperately need a force down low if they expect to compete with the rest of the West.  Maybe Brand can have a Zach Randolph-like resurgence and go back to the 20/10 guy he once was for the Clippers.

I played around with ESPN's NBA Trade Machine this morning and found a deal centering around McGrady and Brand relatively easy to work.  

For instance, the Sixers could offer Brand/Dalembert for McGrady, but that would leave the Sixers extremely thin in the frontcourt, and it'd be hard to imagine the Rockets accepting two albatross contracts for an expiring contract.

But a Brand/Jason Kapono for McGrady still works, which would give Houston a low post presence and a deadly three-point shooter to pair alongside point guard Aaron Brooks.

If Houston GM Daryl Morey insists on getting a young piece back for McGrady as well, the Sixers could trade Brand, Kapono, and rookie point guard Jrue Holiday for McGrady and reserve point guard Kyle Lowry (who went to college locally at Villanova).

Not to mention...if they pull the Dalembert/Iggy for McGrady trade off, they'd be approximately $14 million under the cap for the free agent bonanza that's due to happen after the season.  But they'd also be without their starting center and shooting guard, leaving them in an unenviable position when it comes to attracting marquee free agents.

The bottom line is: the Sixers cannot accept a Iguodala/Dalembert-for-McGrady deal. If they're insistent on getting rid of one contract, it has to be Brand's.

Anything less, and the Sixers management clearly has money ahead of winning on their priority list.  

And if that's true, then I want some new management running these Sixers.  Philadelphia deserves better.

While Stefanski and Jordan can run their mouths about how disappointed they are in the season so far...maybe it's time to look in the mirror and realize it all started with the front office.


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