Inside the Sixers: Ex-coaches want no part of the 76ers

Tony DiLeo
Tony DiLeo
Posted: April 22, 2013

It is telling when Stan Van Gundy, a man who wants back into the NBA, lumps the 76ers into that clump of teams (Cleveland and Detroit are the others) where the situation is so rancid that a respected ex-coach wants nothing to do with them.

And it is even more telling when those gigs are, at the moment, the only openings in the league.

Heading into the offseason following a disastrous season on all fronts, this is how the Sixers are viewed from the outside looking in. A season removed from coming within one game of reaching the Eastern Conference finals, the Sixers are at a crossroads and find themselves among the NBA's armpit organizations.

It's pretty easy to discern why.

The front office is a mess and the next few years look bleak.

Tony DiLeo is a rookie general manager far more adept at scouting than the wheeling, dealing, and back-alley ways needed to orchestrate the resuscitation of an organization in a perilous situation.

He finds himself here because of multiple miscalculations on the organization's part, most of them attached to the Andrew Bynum trade.

There where whispers out of both Orlando and Los Angeles before the start of this past season that Bynum's arthritic knees were beyond the point of no return. Yet the Sixers pulled the trigger on the deal that not only resulted in Bynum's never suiting up here but also cost the Sixers an asset in Nik Vucevic, a 22-year-old 7-footer who could very easily be named most improved player this season and an all-star in the future.

If we are to believe everything that Josh Harris says, then DiLeo is in charge of the operation.

However, when asked about that Thursday, when the Sixers and coach Doug Collins were breaking up, Harris included in his answer the caveat that "everything is on the table."

Last season the front office appeared stable. Collins looked at the time as if he would eventually assume a front office role and pass the coaching duties on to Michael Curry. Now Collins joins Rod Thorn, whose contract expires later this year, in an advisory capacity.

Expected to be on an upward trajectory after a successful season of Bynum dominating the center-less teams of the Eastern Conference, the Sixers now sit at the center of a quagmire of their own making.

Should they overspend this summer for a free agent who could possibly help them get back into the lower echelon of the playoffs but not beyond that? With more punitive measures set to kick in regarding overspending on players, this becomes more of a gamble. Or would it be better for them to acknowledge that they are in full rebuild mode, accept that they will be in the abysmal situation that potential coaches such as Van Gundy believe they will be, and cast their eye to the future?

The latter may be their best option.

The draft could improve the Sixers if they beat the odds and move up from their current position (11) into perhaps the top three spots. They have an 8-in- 1,000 chance of moving up into the top spot.

Otherwise they are going to be left with picking up a Cody Zeller type, and he may never be the player that, say, Vucevic is becoming.

Fans of this team probably never thought it would come to this - so bad, so soon - but this is exactly what the next coach is looking at as his undertaking.

It's not a pretty picture.


Contact John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com. Follow on Twitter @jmitchinquirer.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|