Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sixers should feel obligated to keep Iguodala

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA - I'm not a big fan of obligation.

Albert Einstein once said "It is every man's obligation to put back into the
world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it." While I'm not
claiming to be on the same mental plane as Mr. Einstein, I'm comfortable in
disagreeing with him on this one.

I've always felt man's only obligation is to be true to himself.

Some may call that selfish but it's not necessarily. It's called free will.
If you want to help others, knock yourself out. If you want to look out for
old No. 1, go right ahead.

Experience has taught me when people do things out of obligation, disaster
usually results.

Take me for example. Many of you know Philadelphia is currently experiencing
its worst winter in history. Two historic storms in the last week have been
dubbed the "Snowpocalypse," as the City of Brotherly Love set its all time
seasonal record for the white stuff.

When it comes to weather, the Northeast is like the New York Yankees or Dallas
Cowboys. The region gets far more publicity than the rest of the country so I
get why most people could care less when we complain. But, trust me this was
bad. I lived in Minneapolis for 10 years and never experienced anything
remotely like it.

I happen to live in a suburb of Philadelphia and share a driveway with a
neighbor that happens to own a snow blower, a piece of equipment that usually
does nothing more than collect dust every winter.

Last weekend it snowed 29.2 inches in my little part of the world and that was
followed by another 16-plus inches just days later, so that snow-blower turned
from expensive paper weight into a very valuable commodity.

To his credit, my neighbor burst into action, helping me clear the driveway.

So what's the problem?

Well, my neighbor is a really good guy and he not only helps me, he has been
paving his way to the pearly gates by plowing the driveways of everyone within
shouting distance.

And I, thanks to the better half, was obligated to pitch in, a feeling that
can only be described as helpless.

With the second storm looming, I did everything I could to secure my own snow-
blower, knowing full well if I made the purchase I would have nothing more
than a rather expensive garage decoration for the next decade. I called every
Lowes, Home Depot and Sears in the county.

It was a pipe dream. All the other detractors of obligation had swiped them up
and my barking back and aching knees were back out playing block captain next
to "Captain Do-Gooder."

The result?

A pending trip to the chiropractor and a possible damaged liver from gulping
down Advils like they were Tic-Tacs.

Obligation strikes again.

Ed Stefanski should learn from my little story because he is about to be
bitten by the obligation bug.

The embattled Sixers president is seriously thinking about trading his best
player, Andre Iguodala, simply because he feels obligated to do something.

A local guy, Stefanski knows his city well. When hired he correctly observed
that "patience doesn't go over well in Philadelphia."

Stefanski's two big moves since taking over the Sixers, signing an injured
Elton Brand to a massive free agent contract and hiring crony Eddie Jordan as
head coach, have been abject failures. A disastrous season has resulted and
put the bull's-eye squarely on his back.

With the trade deadline looming, Stefanski feels obligated to do something.
Sure, he would like to deal Brand or center Samuel Dalembert but that seems
unlikely. Brand's contract and health concerns make the veteran virtually
unmovable, while a 15 percent trade kicker and Dalembert's shaky work-ethic
have nixed more than one possible deal over the past year.

Iguodala is the one tradeable commodity the Sixers have.

Philadelphia's "star" swingman is in the second-year of a six-year, $80
million dollar deal and a number of league executives are salivating over the
idea of adding his all-around game to their teams.

Stefanski certainly knows Iguodala is best-suited as a complimentary piece, a
player that should pattern his game after Scottie Pippen -- stuff the stat
sheet and help the team win a different way every night. But, the Sixers'
basketball chief has been unable to get a primary offensive option opposite
Iggy.

When Brand scribbled his name on an $82 million dollar deal before last
season, Stefanski thought Iguodala's short reign as "Batman" in Philadelphia
was over. He thought Iguodala would slip into a more appropriate role, the
perfect "Robin," the Academy Award winning supporting actor that would become
a daily triple-double threat on the offensive end with the ability to torture
people on the defensive side of the ball.

Instead, Stefanski struck out miserably with Brand, and magnified the mistake
by settling on a new mentor that coaches like a 10-year old kid with ADD.

So, Iguodala continues to be the proverbial fish out of water in Philly. He is
"the guy," a role ill-fitted for the Arizona product and one that has made him
more and more disliked with the team's dwindling fan base.

A fact that has the NBA's other GMs circling like sharks and smelling blood in
the water.

Obligation has Ed Stefanski on the verge of making his final mistake as
president of the 76ers.
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