Rod Thorn on impending sale, trades, and Thursday's draft
After Tuesday morning's pre-draft workout at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, which is expected to be the team's final workout before Thursday's 2011 NBA Draft, 76ers president Rod Thorn spoke to the media about all topics. What follows is a transcript of Thorn's answers, touching on subjects from the potential sale to trading Andre Iguodala to what fans can expect from the team during Thursday's draft.
The Sixers hold the No. 16 and No. 50 picks in Thursday's draft, which will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. If you want to follow on Twitter, you can do that here: Deep Sixer. You can also check out the video of Thorn, which should be embedded below.
Here's the transcript:
On the draft process, how has it gone?
Thorn: "We're just trying to get ready for the draft. We have all of our scouts in and we're talking to all of the teams in the league about different things. And trying to figure out who everybody is going to take to give us some indication of who might be available when we pick. It's an ongoing process because it's very changeable and this draft in particular because after the first three or four picks, it's very wide open. You have to be prepared for a lot of different scenarios."
Are you less likely to try to move up (trade up) because of the quality of the draft?
"I would say that's probably true. Not that we wouldn't if there was some sort of trade where we could get another player and move up, we would be interested in something like that. But just to move up? I don't know that we're that interested."
Do you think you'll make a deal, big or minor?
"It's just too hard to tell. We've had conversations with everyone over the course of the last three weeks. And we've had some what I would call meaningful conversations and then some not so meaningful. But as of right now we don't have anything imminent. But we keep having conversations so we'll just have to see."
Does the news of the potential sale alter anything the basketball side is trying to do?
'You know something, it really doesn't. We operate under the idea of business as usual. I'm sure if and when the sale is completed, that if there is a new ownership, every owner is different as to how they deal with their quote-unquote basketball people. So we'll have to see how that goes, if and when it finally happens. Right now we're operating the way we normally do."
Have you had any contact with the potential new owners?
"I have. I've had a couple of conversations with the various members of the potential new group. You know, again, it's basically business as usual."
When you have these meetings, are they picking your brain?
"Yes, they have questions about how we do things, why we do things, what we think of our personnel, what we think we need. Those type of information-type questions."
Do you enter those meetings wanting to see where they stand on what they want to do?
"At this point that's not being divulged as to exactly how they stand or how they will operate because until they actually take over there isn't a lot to do about that or say about that. It's just a fact-finding type of mission where they want to see how we think about things and they haven't really unveiled any plans that they might have."
Would you say you guys are eyeing a big man in this draft?
"That's one of the things we're definitely looking at, a big man be it a power forward or center type. But we also, in our estimation, we also need a shooter. So that's something that we're looking at also. So to say that we're going to pick big, there's a good chance that we will, but we also may not."
Can you address those needs in the draft or will you need to do it via trade?
"We feel that we can get a player at 16 that can help up, hopefully play in a rotation. I'm not saying next year, but hopefully will be a rotation player for us. We feel in this draft there aren't a lot of players who I think might be real stars, but there are a lot of role, rotation-type players. It's deep in that. Where we are, that's what we're looking for. We think we'll have two or three guys that will get to us that will be good players."
Is it safe to say that Andre Iguodala has been the main topic of conversation when talking with other teams?
"I would not say that. Obviously with all of the speculation, there have been conversations that have involved him, but we've had conversations that have involved other players on our team, too."
Do you initiate the majority of the conversations involving Iguodala?
"I wouldn't say that we initiate the majority of the conversations, but maybe some of them."
Do you think in order to get a big man that would be impactful that you'd have to trade Iguodala to do that?
"I don't necessarily think that. Big men are at a premium, they're very hard to get, they're very hard to find. And normally when teams have top-flight big men, they don't trade them. That's a commodity that's hard to find."
Because of the CBA, the uncertainty, how is movement affected?
"I think teams are more cautious maybe than normal because of what may or may not happen. As all of you know, we're not allowed to talk about that other than to say the commissioner has always done a great job and I'm sure he will here, too. I do think teams are more cautious."
Because of your time in the league office, going back to teams being sold, intricate things can make deals fail, right?
"In my career out of the NBA office, I've been involved in four sales. This is my fourth one. Until all of the 'I's' are dotted and all of the 'T's' are crossed, you never have the deal. That's why I don't really want to speculate other than what you guys already know because I'm not privy to those conversations. And you don't know until the deal is actually signed and a lot of these things break down in the last part of it."
The teams directly above you in the draft, do you take a special look at what they might do?
"We certainly look at them because they're directly ahead of us. But we also, after the first three or four picks, this draft could … guys you think might go between five and eight, they might be available at 16. That's how close the skill level is on a lot of these players. So it's in the eye of the beholder. There are a lot of foreign players who are going to be in the top 15 or 16 – moreso than usual. You just have to be ready for any scenario. You have five minutes when your time comes and you have to be ready. We look at worst-case scenarios and best-case in trying to determine what we're going to do."
Have you had trouble getting guys in who think they're going higher?
"In a perfect world, you would like to at least interview every player you're thinking about taking, but the reality is a lot of players' agents feel they are going to go higher than they will ultimately go."
Have you had a chance to talk to Iguodala?
"I talked to Andre about three weeks ago. I haven't talked to him since. But I think he's used to the speculation because, in my time here in less than a year, there's been a lot of speculation regarding him. I think he's a pro and that's part of the business."
What did Iguodala express to you?
"He's always said that he would like to stay. He's never said that he would like to be traded – to me."
Do you prioritize, if business goes as usual, things like Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes?
"We have an idea of what we think the marketplace is. But there is always a negotiation. Players and player agents tend to think they are on one level economically and teams seem to think they're at another. So there's always give and take there. But when the time comes, we'll certainly do what we feel we should do in order to try to sign both of them."
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