As I sit here lamenting what could have been on the onset of the biggest free-agent class since the Triassic period—the possible scenarios currently at play, and what could have happened with my favorite basketball team—I am struck with one startling conclusion.
A toddler would make a better general manager than a good number of the current crop that work in the National Basketball Association.
The reasons why I believe this are plenty, mainly due to the fact that some of these ridiculous contracts handed out to sub-par players are unarguably the most dimwitted and head-scratching events yet to take place in human history.
If I were, let’s say, a factory worker, and I made a factory blunder equivalent to signing Samuel Dalembert for six years and $64 million, the factory industry might have collapsed in upon itself. This contract alone destroyed the Philadelphia 76ers franchise and made it almost impossible for the team to sign any post presence since. Only now has the team rid itself of this contract, but only due to the fact that it’s the last year in the deal.
The one responsible for this Titanic-sized blunder was Billy King, who many thought was a smart man.
This realization comes to the forefront of thought because the Sixers committed another blunder by signing both Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala for the maximum possible money allowed in the NBA. Please note that these signings were after young Iguodala failed to make any progress with his shooting abilities, and also after Brand sat out an entire year with injuries.
If I were, let’s say, a construction worker (even after being fired for making that gigantic blunder in the factory years before), and I made a construction working blunder equivalent to both of those deals, there might be a halt on all houses made in the entire world when the press got wind of what I had done.
All of this comes on the onset of where we are in the NBA. The largest supply of talent ever to hit the market has the Sixers again looking and watching other teams haul in big time talent while they have to sit and reflect on blunders that have made them a stagnant team. Luckily, they acquired the second overall pick by some divine intervention and now have a player who just fell into their lap.
What we have here is a team, the Sixers, that have let these signings ruin a once exciting and captivating franchise. For a time, with Allen Iverson, the basketball team was the pride of the city and the talk of the town.
Now it is the fourth-most popular professional franchise in the city, and has made the word “blunder” look delightfully understated.
What many now contribute as the forerunner of these outlandish GM moves wasn’t considered so at the time. That move was acquiring Chris Webber from the Sacramento Kings, and the Sixers really outdid themselves with the awfulness of this move.
Iverson enthralled many because of his tenacity, speed, and heart. Webber inspired no one when he arrived in the city, except perhaps those who want to make $20 million doing absolutely nothing.
Originally signed in 2001 for almost $130 million for seven years, Webber was one of the most dominant big-men in the league. Along with Mike Bibby at the point and Peja Stojakovic on the wing draining threes, the Kings were an excited team with a terror named Webber inside.
Woe was Webber when his squad was cut down just short of the title annually. Years passed, and the power forward who infamously called the timeout with no timeouts remaining (I’m obligated to mention this with any talk of Chris Webber) ended many a year without a ring on his finger.
With weary knees and an even wearier will to play, the Kings smelled trouble and the downfall of their big man. They shipped Webber to the Sixers for what looked like peanuts at the time. This would be a mistake so monumental no comparison can be made to it in real human terms.
I’ll compare it to a comet hitting the earth and destroying most species around it, taking millions of years for life to start to crawl back to normalcy, because that’s exactly what this trade did for the Sixers.
As the years again passed and Webber became slower and slower, the team awarded him a buyout of $25 million. This was probably the best move involving Webber the Sixers ever made.
All these horrible decisions show you that one trade and one bad move can affect a franchise for years to come. That’s obviously just the way the league works with the amount these players are making. But what I would like to point out is that no one in their right and informed mind would make them.
This is just a warning to all those general managers out there for when LeBron 2.0 comes out with Wade 2.0 and Bosh 2.0 all in the same offseason. Don’t make an error in the factory or during construction or your franchise will look like their players just escaped a comet hitting them. Proverbially, of course.