Phil Jasner | Sixers not green with envy about KG deal

Posted: August 01, 2007

THE SCOURGE of Tim Donaghy?

Betting lines?

Over/unders?

Mob connections?

Indictments?

Can we interrupt the madness, even for a moment or two, and look in on the state of the 76ers?

I mean,

we're talking actual basketball stuff.

Specifically, we're talking about Kevin Garnett landing with the Boston Celtics in a massive trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, teaming with Paul Pierce and the previously acquired Ray Allen. We're talking about whether the Sixers should have made a similar run at Garnett, whether the balance of power in the NBA's Eastern Conference is dramatically affected, and what this does to the immediate hopes of the Sixers.

I haven't exactly gotten a flood of e-mails asking why the Sixers weren't players for a Garnett-quality acquisition, but the ones I've gotten openly wonder why "the Sixers never do stuff like this?''

They did. Or have you forgotten Chris Webber? Keith Van Horn? Glenn Robinson? Or

$50 million for Kenny Thomas?

The Sixers have said repeatedly that they are preaching patience, that they are - finally - planning for the future, that they are working toward signing

Andre Iguodala to an extension, that they are hoping to have upwards of $8 million in salary-cap space next summer. To change direction now would be to say they never believed in their plan, or that they never really had one.

With Garnett, Allen and Pierce, the Celtics will be paying luxury tax. Giving up Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, et al., plus a couple of draft choices, they have mortgaged their future and given up any hope of cap flexibility. They're taking their shot right here, right now.

The Sixers haven't taken that dramatic a shot since 2000-01, when they reached out for Dikembe Mutombo to replace the injured Theo Ratliff en route to the Finals. More recently,

they've been in the lottery in three of the last four seasons.

And if the Sixers had offered, say, some combination of Iguodala, Kyle Korver, Andre Miller and Samuel Dalembert - they don't have an expiring contract in the category of Theo Ratliff - in a package for Garnett, how would they have been any better on the court? Garnett, who probably would not even have been interested, would have found himself in a situation no better - and possibly worse - than he had with Minnesota.

As for the balance of power in the East, a move of Garnett to the Celtics means that they seemingly helped themselves significantly more in the short run than New York (Zach Randolph), New Jersey (Jamaal Magloire), Orlando (Rashard Lewis),

Charlotte (Jason Richardson) or Milwaukee (Desmond Mason, Yi Jianlian, assuming he ever comes), but all those teams are now better than they were. From a Philadelphia perspective, this simply means the young Sixers have dropped a little further down the list.

I'd like to tell you that the Sixers are going to be even a handful of games better than last season, but I'm not sure that, at this point, I can do that. I can say I respect their laying out a blueprint and sticking to it.

I can't wait to see their marketing program. *

Send e-mail to jasnerp@phillynews.com

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