The foundation of the Sixers franchise is cracked, writes Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The scribe turns a spotlight on the organization for its handling of injuries to star players and even the management of its payroll this year and last.
Ambiguity and a lack of transparency with regard to the recovery times of players like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons call into question whether the club has a management problem or just a communication problem. Regardless, the “fans and players need this organization to be run better,” he writes. Recently the Sixers revealed that both Embiid and Simmons will miss the remainder of the 2016/17 campaign after several weeks of misplaced optimism and muted details about the severity of their injuries.
Finally, Cooney acknowledges that for the second time in two years the franchise has taken on and eaten the lofty contracts of opposing teams’ veterans in bids to push their payroll closer to the salary floor. A team that doesn’t reach the salary floor is obligated to pay the difference out to the players on their roster, but by taking on Andrew Bogut‘s deal, the club absolves itself of the responsibility. The part of Bogut’s $11MM contract that the Sixers inherited in the Nerlens Noel trade, of course, is prorated relative to how much of the 2016/17 season he spent with each organization.
“Don’t think that hasn’t soured some, if not most,” of the Sixers’ players, Cooney cautions.
There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:
- A less-than-impressive showing on defense in Wednesday night’s Sixers loss has Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford wondering if “Jahlil Okafor‘s career in Philadelphia may have ended with that one play.”
- Injured big man Joel Embiid is taking his setback in stride. “Be back soon,” the Sixers rookie tweeted Thursday. “The process has to be postponed.”
- While the Knicks as an organization moved to embrace the triangle offense, point guard Derrick Rose isn’t so enthusiastic. “S—, do I have a choice? Do I have a choice?” he joked with Ian Begley of ESPN and reporters on Thursday.
- While it wasn’t long ago that it seemed Derrick Rose was on his way out of New York, he’ll remain with the Knicks for the rest of the year and, per Laura Albanese of Newsday, is working on adding a three-point shot.
- The Raptors will need to play with more energy and passion if they’re to stop their slide down the Eastern Conference standings, writes Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun. Modified minute distributions for the second unit may be in the cards as well.
- The impact of Al Horford on the Celtics isn’t always measured by traditional statistics, writes A. Sherrod Blakey of CSN New England. “He makes plays, high basketball IQ, he can score, he can pass, he can rebound and the way he played (against Cleveland) we need him to play like that for us to win. He does a lot for us that doesn’t even go on the stat sheet though,” says point guard Isaiah Thomas.