One year removed, it's a wonder there was still such a rabid debate over McNabb's worth, or what a world without him would look like. And, as Rich Hofmann's column yesterday so amply emphasized, that void has been filled to the Borealis with the current debate about what to do with Kevin Kolb.
The connecting thread of all these conundrums is one Andre Iguodala, who quickly replaced Allen Iverson as the focal point to the debate over how to fix/improve/make relevant the 76ers. On the eve of yet another trade deadline, and in the wake of a surprising turnaround that suggests better days ahead for this town's pro basketball team, Iguodala is alternately seen as a vehicle that can push a ridiculously young team toward those days, or an immovable impediment toward that end.
I see it as the latter, for all the reasons given over the last several seasons. His contract. His offensive limitations. His intangibles on the court countered by a lack of them off the court.
He is Kato, not the Green Hornet.
He is Robin, not Batman.
When Doug Collins compares him to Grant Hill, he leaves out the part about Hill earning $3 million this season and Iggy tapping the cap for $54 million over the next four seasons.
When people talk about not "giving him away," I wonder if they will launch from that universe should the cap shrink further under a new collective bargaining agreement, pinning their overpriced swingman to this group for three seasons beyond this one, disabling any real chance to build from what has been suggested by its young nucleus and dynamic coach over the last 3 months.
I like the guy. I am at least partly motivated to advocate a trade because it is the only realistic chance he will have for a populace to celebrate what he can do for your team rather than what he cannot do. Some of you, in fact, want him out of here not because he makes too much money or takes too much playing time away from the younger players. Some of you want him out of here simply because he tends to miss big shots late in games.
I don't know if that would change if Evan Turner is taking those shots a year from now. Who knows, maybe he's not the game-changer we hoped for when the Sixers made him the second pick last spring. But we need to find out, no?
Maybe they're not the same player, as Thaddeus Young suggested recently. But there are only five positions on a basketball team and both seem to fit the same one. Turner averaged 11.2 points and 6.1 rebounds in the 12 games Iguodala missed this season. With him around, those numbers are halved.
Are the Sixers a better team right now with both? Absolutely. Will they get to where they want to be with both? Absolutely not.
Especially if that salary cap shrinks.
When people quote Mike Krzyzewski praising him to the high heavens after coaching him this summer, they should try and keep in mind that Team USA does not deal with salary-cap issues, and that Iguodala was not asked to shoot. When people cite the praise he and Collins have received around the NBA for altering the team dynamic, try to read between the lines.
"I think when you watch Andre Iguodala now," Boston coach Doc Rivers said during the All-Star break, "he is the star of the team and their best role player at the same time. I don't think he would have done that last year or years past, but he does it. He has bought into Doug completely and it shows in his play. Doug Collins has changed their culture."
Iguodala may be the first player in NBA history to be described as a star and a role player in the same sentence. What I think Doc is saying here is that Collins has successfully extricated the player from the contract.
But it's there, and there it will remain, hovering over every step this team makes to get better, on the court and off. They need a late-game marksman. They could use a big. For all the praise heaped upon him lately from those unnamed NBA types, Iguodala remains a Sixer mostly because the offers for him, if there were any, were awful.
Three months ago Ed Snider was willing to trade Iguodala for a bag of peanuts. Now he needs him to sell a few more. It has been suggested elsewhere that trading Iguodala at this juncture would send a bad message to the team.
It says here that being unable to move him sends a bad one to its fans. *
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