The Philadelphia 76ers became an integral part of the Dwight Howard trade this week, providing a landing spot for Andrew Bynum, a major chip in Andre Iguodala and a couple of prospects for the Orlando Magic in Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless.
We talked to Michael Levin of SB Nation's Sixers blog Liberty Ballers about the moves.
Andre Iguodala is finally gone. Is it bittersweet, or do you feel as if you can finally move on with this team?
Levin: I love Dre. He's a fantastic basketball player and has done nothing but be really good at his sport for eight years in Philly. He wasn't ever appreciated the way he should be because of the contract or his minor offensive deficiencies, but he was simply one of the best players to play in Philadelphia the past 25 years.
It's sad to see him go on a personal level, but he's needed to leave for three or four seasons now and both parties are better off for it. I can't wait to watch him in Denver.
You'd been critical of the Sixers' seeming willingness to be OK instead of sacrificing in the short term to be great. Has that philosophy with the franchise changed after the Brand amnesty and this deal, or is this the same ol' blueprint with new sketches?
Levin: I don't think there's anybody that's been more critical of the Sixers' moves over the past few seasons than me. But I have to eat some crow on this. This trade is such a non-Sixers move that we're accustomed to, it's definitely a philosophical shift in the mindset of this team. They've been famous for just maintaining status quo. But after being only a Rajon Rondo three away from making the Eastern Conference Finals, to their credit, they tore it down and managed to bring in a franchise center. This is uncharted territory for this team, and I love it.
Is the deal an abject failure if Bynum leaves in a year?
Levin: Absolutely not. First off, I'm very confident he'll sign a max extension. The Sixers can offer more years and more money and, to a much lesser degree, Philly is about an hour away from his hometown so that could play a factor as well. He's going to be the guy here, which I believe is what he wants.
But even if he does leave, then the Sixers made a lot of room and cleared a lot of space to be gymnastically flexible once he's gone. That would truly be a rebuild and next offseason would see them scrambling to bring in another franchise guy. Big changes needed to happen and they did.
My only question is who the hell is making these decisions? The Sixers are currently without a GM, Rod Thorn is notoriously Rod Thorn and Doug Collins is in London. Our money is on a summer intern.