By Craig Kwasniewski
Damn, what a huge letdown.
It looks like A.I. will not get traded after all. I guess the Sixers are content with 35 to 42 wins each season for the rest of A.I.'s career. Too bad.
The two serious trade scenarios were very interesting. One had A.I. going to the Clippers for Maggette and some of the Clipper Spirit. This would have guaranteed the Clippers top billing in a Los Angeles. (BTW - Make no mistake about it, LA is a Laker town through and through, especially since the NFL left in 94.) The continuing subplot would have been A.I. and Sam Cassell with two heavy Alpha Dogs going at it each night. The league needed this type of drama with the only other controversy being the Isiah Thomas Euthanasia watch.
I never considered the A.I. to the Clippers trade a realistic choice, but at least it kept the screamers at local talk radio distracted from baseball talk, and who really wants to talk about chemically enhanced sports anyways.
The other trade was shipping A.I. to Boston. This would have almost guaranteed Doc Rivers being fired as he would have found a way to squeeze 34 wins out of a team with two hall-of-famers. Still with two players who demand the ball every possession, I couldn’t see this deal working. I can see by year two Pierce and A.I. going at each other in the media with subtle "pass the fucking ball!!!!" hints.
Still, the Boston trade would have made the C's a major storyline again. And the NBA is always a better league when the C's, Knicks and Lakers are relevant. Instead, the C's marketing department can go back to killing whatever's left of the franchise pride with some mascot or male cheerleading troupe.
So that leaves the Sixers with A.I. and Webber for another season. Halfway through last year I thought the Sixers had a good mixture of youth and veterans and would be a playoff team. (I was wayyy off with that one!) Since the Eastern Conference is worse than last season, I see the Sixers falling into the 6th seed and losing in the first round. This is what Philly has to look for the next 5 years... enjoy it and remember to thank your local GM, Billy King.