It hardly comes as a surprise that the owner of the Flyers and GM of the Sixers have both announced in the last few weeks they are going to implement changes in the way their respective dysfunctional teams do business. Unfortunately, the solutions they propose will not work for the oldest reason in the book: they are the problem.
The Sixers’ Billy King indicated he would take a more hands-on approach in the coming season. That should come as particularly bad news to local basketball fans as they ponder the implications of King’s statements. If anything, his apparently hands-off approach of the last few seasons has produced a revolving door in the coach’s office and more than a few terrible trades and signings in his own. Last year the Sixers failed to make the playoffs despite King’s maneuvers of the previous few seasons. What can they expect from him when he puts his mind and hands to the task going forward? Not much.
As for the Flyers, owner Ed Snider has made it clear his team is no longer going to mortgage the future by trading away youngsters for old-timers. The Flyers’ future-is-now approach of the last several seasons has yielded an older, slower team that somehow reached the playoffs this past year only to make a quick, expected exit. A list of the disastrous Faustian bargains the Flyers made are included in a piece by Tim Panaccio in today’s Inquirer. It is a long and sorry one.
Panaccio also notes a number of Flyers front office people have departed recently, some of their own accord but not all. The sad truth is the biggest personnel problem remains GM Bob Clarke, the architect of all those terrible deals. Clarke never met a bruiser he didn’t want instead of a speedster. Nor has any GM ever been more enamored of players who had great track records against the Flyers. Clarke also likes to reacquire people he’s already traded, perhaps the most telling argument against his judgment.
Snider’s loyalty to Clarke is now 30 plus years in the making, a debt that has been paid in full many times over. As long as he holds on to his former star player, the change in direction Snider boldly announced will remain well off course.