Saturday, December 13, 2008
I think most Philly fans probably saw it coming with a 9-14 record to start the season after making a major coup in free agency by signing Elton Brand away from the Clippers, but coach Maurice Cheeks got the ax today. Somewhat sad because there's no better story than a former franchise PG who won a 'chip leading the guys back to respectability, but the expectations are much higher than that with Brand in town and the Eastern Conference in flux if you're not the Celts, Pistons, or Cavs. Tony DiLeo, one of the Sixers' front office guys, will take over on an interim basis.
What's interesting to see is how the 76ers are the latest team to can their coach with about a quarter of the season down, as the Minnesota Timberwolves axed Randy Wittman from his thankless job (he could have been a miracle worker and he wouldn't have gone to the playoffs with that roster). Kevin McHale, once again avoiding blame for the T'Wolves failures in a way Matt Millen would envy, is on the bench for the rest of the season -- and hopefully owner Glen Taylor made an Isiah-like bargain with him. Eddie Jordan wasn't long for the Wizards, and he got canned as soon as it was clear the team was still struggling with the concept of defense.
The power battle between Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo and coach Sam Mitchell came to a head long ago; Colangelo was just waiting for an excuse to fire Mitchell and bring in his own coach -- a subpar start provided good ocver. This is practically a hockey-like ratio that's appearing in pro basketball right now, and I'm trying to figure out personally why this is the case. A lot of it in hockey has to do with GMs who have coached or played before and know the sport, and maybe we're seeing more and more of that in the NBA, with the impatience coming from the "win now" demand.
Well, back to Mo, though, and we should all remember him, at the very least for being a class act and helping someone with the National Anthem during his tenure. Still a cool thing to do.
Sixers coach Mo Cheeks fired [Philadelphia Inquirer]