From: Gonzalez, John

To: Ford, Bob; Sheridan, Phil

Subject: Brand and burgers

A lot of the talk concerning the Sixers right now - as Kate Fagan smartly points out - has been about whether Brand (and his dislocated shoulder) completely changed the team's style from up-tempo to plodding. Is Brand to blame for the slower, more deliberate approach we've seen from the Sixers this year? And if so, did he help get Mo Cheeks fired due to his mere presence?

On an unrelated note, Burger King is selling a fragrance for men called Flame. It costs $3.99, and it's supposed to smell like flame-broiled burgers. I'm not making that up.

From: Ford, Bob
To: Gonzalez, John; Sheridan, Phil
Subject: Brand and burgers

How much do you get for $3.99? That would be the dividing line for me. If it's just an ounce or two, probably not worth it. But if it's, like, a vat of it, then I'm in.

The Sixers got Brand in order to have some semblance of a half-court game when necessary (like the postseason, for instance). They added a lot of other new pieces, too, and Maurice couldn't make them fit together. It might be that they do not and will not fit together for anyone, but changing the coach is how you find out. Unfair to an extent to Cheeks, but part of the business.

From: Sheridan, Phil
To: Ford, Bob; Gonzalez, John
Subject: Brand and burgers

At the press conference to announce Cheeks' dismissal, Ed Stefanski and Tony DiLeo kept saying Brand is the "perfect trailer" for a running team. I think that's GM-speak for "slow."

There appear to be a couple of issues here. One is that Brand may not be completely recovered from the Achilles injury that kept him out most of last season. That's a tough one to bounce all the way back from. Another is the way he fits in on defense with Sam "Who Me?" Dalembert. If the defense doesn't create the transition game, it doesn't matter how fast you get down the floor on offense.

Bob's right, though. The Sixers learned very quickly how much their lack of a half-court offense hurt in the playoffs. You have to be able to do both. Adding Brand somehow managed to make them unable to do either.

Re BK cologne: Eau de Bacon Grease. Pour Hommes.

From: Gonzalez, John
To: Ford, Bob; Sheridan, Phil
Subject: Brand and burgers

The perfect trailer? That's a beautiful euphemism. I'm totally stealing it. From now on, Ford is Talkin's "perfect trailer."

I was one of the people who applauded the Brand signing. Maybe it'll work out in the end, after the rest of the team figures out how to play with him in the mix. In the interim, though, it looks like the organization managed to botch this season seven different ways.

Re smelling like a burger: After I made scrapple for breakfast recently, my girlfriend complained that I had the scent on me all day. Smelling like a Whopper might be an improvement.

From: Sheridan, Phil
To: Ford, Bob; Gonzalez, John
Subject: Brand and burgers

Scrapple. It was recycling before it was cool.

From: Ford, Bob
To: Gonzalez, John; Sheridan, Phil
Subject: Brand and burgers

Well, I'm writing about this issue for today's paper - that would be found on Page 1, Gonzo, a place you'll never be - so I'll just return to the Burger King cologne question. If you turn on a gas oven and stick your head in it for 10 minutes or so, the effect might be the same. John, could you do that and report back?

Anyway, nothing says loving like scrapple.

From: Gonzalez, John
To: Ford, Bob; Sheridan, Phil
Subject: Brand and burgers

Must you be so cruel? I love Page 1. I read it all the time - usually whenever I'm out of Tylenol PM.

Re "Nothing says loving . . .": That's what I told her, but she didn't buy it. She's from Boston. They know not of scrapple. If I had driven through South Philly that afternoon with the windows down, I would have had women all over me.