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Philly.Com: Wish granted with Thomas acquisition

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Free Agent, Dec 19, 2002.

  1. Free Agent

    Free Agent Member

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    Sixers' wish granted with Thomas acquisition

    By PHIL JASNER
    jasnerp@phillynews.com

    This was a move the 76ers all but begged to make for at least 2 years. They needed a combination small forward/power forward with a touch of nastiness, who could score, defend and rebound and who takes a special satisfaction in doing all of the above.

    There he was in Philadelphia every summer, training and scrimmaging under the watchful supervision of John Hardnett. In the tiny Gustine Lake gym. At Temple. Even at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Sixers' practice site. Close enough for the Sixers' brass to watch, but not close enough to acquire.

    Even the other Sixers working out joked about it, never for a moment believing they were so close to the truth. But one day's moment of wonder became yesterday's taste of reality when the Sixers acquired 6-7 Kenny Thomas from Houston in a three-team deal with Denver.

    The Sixers sent Mark Bryant, Art Long and a conditional first-round draft choice to the Nuggets. The Nuggets dealt guard/forward James Posey to the Rockets; the Rockets provided the Nuggets with a second-round pick.

    Thomas was expected to arrive tonight. A Daily News telephone call to him was greeted with a voice-mail message saying "the mailbox is full."

    The Sixers gave up two guys at the end of their bench for a rugged guy who figures to play major minutes.

    "As I look back, it's real funny," the Sixers' Aaron McKie said after last night's 99-94 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. "We always told him he'd be a great fit with our team, not thinking for a minute that it would happen. I thought he was a fixture in Houston."

    If that ever were the case, the Rockets' situation changed with the arrival of Maurice Taylor and Eddie Griffin, not to mention the emergence of 7-6 rookie center Yao Ming. The Nuggets, mindful of stockpiling guys who will be free agents at the end of the season, were willing to give up Posey, who no longer fit their needs, to add the 37-year-old Bryant ($1.030 million), likely at the end of a long career, and Long ($637,435), who probably does not figure in their long-range plans.

    Thomas ($1,557,683) can become a restricted free agent after this season; the Sixers hold an option worth $2,225,526.

    "I think our initial reaction was about how we pulled this off," Sixers forward Keith Van Horn said. "I don't think this will cause any transitional problems, because, with the injuries we've had, we've been adjusting all season. We know how to do that."

    Assuming Monty Williams returns reasonably soon from surgery to repair a partly torn left meniscus, the Sixers will have more than resolved frontcourt shortcomings. With Williams, Thomas, Van Horn, Derrick Coleman, Brian Skinner and McKie, they would appear to have fewer matchup problems and better physicality.

    "I look at it as us getting a guy who can help us get to the level we want to get to," Van Horn said. "He's going to make us a better team. That's what it's all about."

    Sixers general manager Billy King and coach Larry Brown had told Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson that, if Thomas was being moved, they wanted an opportunity to make a bid. Brown acknowledged last night "my heart sank" the other day when a reporter - unaware of the Sixers' current interest - asked about a rumored four-way trade involving Houston, Denver, Memphis and Portland that included Thomas and Posey.

    "I was holding my breath," Brown said.

    King was in his car when Dawson called to finalize this deal. He also was there last summer when the Sixers acquired Van Horn and Todd MacCulloch from New Jersey for Dikembe Mutombo.

    "Maybe I need to drive around more," King said, laughing.

    Brown described his experience as "a hard day," because of a kinship with Bryant and the satisfaction of seeing Long make the roster as a non-guaranteed free agent. But that was clearly offset by his excitement in acquiring Thomas, who was averaging 9.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 29.3 minutes in 20 games. In his three previous seasons, he averaged 9.8 points and 6.3 rebounds.

    "We're getting a kid who works out with our guys in the summertime who we would have made a tremendous run at in the free-agency market," Brown said. "I think with Monty's injury, and as athletic as teams are getting, this was a great deal, but it was not a fun day. I just think [Thomas] can play; he's unselfish, he can defend, he can rebound, he plays more than one position. He's a real team guy, he's got toughness.

    "We've talked about him for years. We've tried ever since I've seen him in the league. I'd watch him play, I'd always think about him being part of our team."

    The players seemed equally as eager to make that step.

    "People are in, then they're out. You can be here one day, gone tomorrow," Skinner said. "What we have to do is make the transition as easy as possible for Kenny. He's part of this team now."

    Greg Buckner was more succinct: "We got better. In this league, that's all you can do."
     
  2. danjojo

    danjojo Member

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    Funny how people on this board did not see the same qualities in good old Kenny...everyone here seems really happy about this deal...and i'm not sure i understand why...
     
  3. RocDreamer

    RocDreamer Member

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    Good to hear that the team is welcoming him in. No doubt that what Buckner said is true. That team did get better. KT will be consistent on a team that is not.
     
  4. cas

    cas Member

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    Simple. The difference between Thomas and Griffin is not as big as the one between Posey and Rice.
     
  5. danjojo

    danjojo Member

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    I hope the latter is not the best player in both cases then...

    Time will tell, and time may just start tomorrow night...
     
  6. Oski2005

    Oski2005 Member

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    I'm happy this deal got done and I'll tell you why. It would have been pretty hard for us to give Kenny the deal he wanted and probably deserved. Why, because very soon, we will be giving extentions to Griffin and Ming. If we kept him, we probably would have lost him as a free agent. Because of this deal, we managed to get something pretty good back, Posey, though it may only be for this year. For Kenny, I think we did him a favor. We put him in the east on a winning team with a great coach. I'm guessing he grew up in Philly since he was always practicing there in the offseason, so if that's true, then we sent him home as well.
     
  7. cas

    cas Member

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    yeah.

    i'll rephrase it abit. i'm happy for the deal because even though our PF position is weakened a bit, our SF position is improved a lot.
     
  8. gram!

    gram! Member

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    yeah, i agree with oski, i love kt, but he was the odd man out. if he was a little bit taller, i would have said keep him, he just doesn't fit for us.
    good luck kt! i am just glad we will only play him twice a year!!
     
  9. RIET

    RIET Member

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    The Rockets are in a good situation with Posey.

    1. The trade cost the Rockets virtually nothing. We don't need another adequate PF. Trading Kenny will allow EG to develop.

    2. Posey will appreciate coming to a winning team that is on the upswing. Yes money matters but so does comradarie. If everything clicks, he may accaept a lower Rockets offer than from some other teams.

    3. We desperately needed a potential upgrade at SF. Rice is too old, T Morris is too inconsistent, and Boki is too inexperienced. I see Posey as a great role player. Denver relied on him too much to score. He was forced to create his own shots resulting in a horrid FG%. On this team, he can play D and have some wide open looks.

    4. If Posey is a bust, the commitment is short term. If he works out I think he will command less $$ than KT at a more critical position.
     
  10. tariq

    tariq Member

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    Can somebody talk about what the rumored deal was between the Rox, Memphis and Portland?

    -Tariq
     
  11. YaoROY

    YaoROY Member

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    KT is simply not part of our plan. We're not going to spend any money on him this summer. That's why it's a good move. Rice is getting old, we need someone to replace him long term. Heck we might even move Rice next.

    EG needs more minutes to develop. We got what we want. Nothing to be upset about.
     
  12. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    Memo to Van Horn and Coleman [players known to dog it esp on D] . .. YOUR STARTING POSITIONS MAYBE CALLING!

    Rocket River
     
  13. HoRockets

    HoRockets Member

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    He not only strengthens our SF position, but he also solidifies the backup SG positon. This guy is listed as a G/F player and he is true to both these positions. His numbers are pretty good having been on a bad team his entire 4 year career. I suspect that his numbers will grow now that he is playing with a better cast.
     
  14. ansfjs73

    ansfjs73 Member

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    What rumored deal you are talking about TARIQ ??
     
  15. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    anyone know of a philly board?
    I want to tell them how they made out like bandits!

    Rocket River
     
  16. Blatz

    Blatz Member

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  17. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Member

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    I'm sure they don't need you to realize that Kenny Thomas is head and shoulders better than they gave up.

    Rockets improved consierably, imo. Posey, like an Artest or Brad Miller, seems like a player whose value will go up even higher once on a decent team. I would not be surprised to see him starting at some point this season, with Rice coming off the bench with a hopefully more consistent shot (honestly, I am very happy with Rice's play this year, just a little too hot/cold and a little too old/unathletic).

    I don't see KT taking Van Horn's spot, given how that move has worked out for Philly fairly well thus far, but I can see him getting a solid 20-25 mpg after things settle down. I'm real happy that he gets to go to a good situation, especially one that doesn't harm the Rockets in any indirect way (i.e. via making another Western Conference team better)
     
  18. ROXTXIA

    ROXTXIA Member

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    It's funny in a way. I didn't realize Kenny Thomas had such Philly connections. But I often thought that the 76ers would be a good team for him to be a part of.

    Good luck, Kenny. Thanks for the hard work, and have a good career...except against the Rockets or when it directly costs us playoff/draft position!
     
  19. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    This is one of those deals where everyone got exactly what they wanted and, in reality, it was very even.

    Houston gets the 2/3 defensive-minded athlete who can score and run the floor. He also knows the team well because he works out here in the summer and the Rockets have always liked him.

    Philly gets a tough, talented power forward who can help solidify their frontcourt rotation. He, like Posey in Houston, knows Philly and works out there in the summer and, clearly, they want him.

    Denver gets expiring contracts to add to their $20 million + cap room next summer and a pair of drafft picks. They weren't going anywhere this season but the cellar and this may even help in the LaBron James sweepstakes.

    Everyone won in this deal.
     
  20. BanginScrew

    BanginScrew Member

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    It also gives Denver an extra shot at winning the lotto in '04 when Darko Milicic is expected to enter the draft. Philly's 1st rounder won't be a lotto pick but Denver's will and it gives them the chance to trade into that top spot. They have a lot of very good young talent. If they are able to land Labron, and Milicic that team will be absolutly SICK.

    I also agree that every team won in this deal. Kenny should fit right in with Philly and is MUCH better than anything they gave up.

    The Rockets get a very athletic SF that is perfect for the Rocket's style. He's so excited to get out of Denver (at least according to Nick Van Exel) that there is zero chance of him not fitting in.
     

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