Now that the NFL draft has passed and we're fully aware of what the Eagles have planned for next season, it's time to focus on the 76ers. Specifically, who's running this team? And who will coach it next season? Should an APB be put out for the chairman and chief operating officer running this franchise?
Hello, Ed Snider. And you too, Peter Luukko. Come out, come out, wherever you are . . .
Considering that the Sixers are barely two weeks removed from a horrendous season filled with player mutiny and, ultimately, fan apathy, one would think that now is not the time for levity. But after both Snider and Luukko swore they'd act swiftly to remedy things, all they've done is get rid of one lame duck in coach Eddie Jordan while leaving the other precariously in place in general manager Ed Stefanski.
"We're moving along," Stefanski said Monday, echoing the same song and dance he performed April 15, when he fired Jordan. "We are researching all of the coaches. We're looking at head coaches working the playoffs. Assistants working in the playoffs. Other head coaches, on the pro and college level. It's a long process, but one we're prepared to endure. There's no timetable. No quick fix here."
It's nice for Stefanski to believe that.
Just two weeks ago, he was forced to explain the Sixers' woes to the media wolves all by himself while Snider and Luukko were at the NBA's Board of Governors meetings in New York. Once reality sets in, it won't take the Sixers' GM-for-the-moment long to see himself as the lone stooge left dangling in the wind of imminent unemployment.
Stefanski is neither blind nor stupid. He knows that Snider's and Luukko's silence is louder than an amplifier right now. With Charlotte having been eliminated last night by the Orlando Magic - and with sources already indicating that Michael Jordan's Bobcats are in coach-search mode, having given coach Larry Brown the freedom to leave if he wishes - Stefanski knows if Brown returns to Philadelphia, he's out.
Brown would be running basketball operations for this franchise. And there would be no need for Stefanski because Brown will bring back former Sixers president and GM Billy King to make all of those phone calls for him. Just like old times.
"Ed Stefanski has begun the process of identifying coaching candidates," Luukko said Monday. "It's still too early in our search for us to make any additional comments."
Well, is it too early to decide if Stefanski will be the man who hires the next coach? Is it too early to determine whether he's wasting his time pursuing a host of candidates that could include former coaches and NBA analysts in Jeff Van Gundy, Avery Johnson (who wants the New Orleans job), or TNT's Doug Collins (who will only work for Jordan)?
How about former Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, who will be on anyone's short list? Or Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau and Mavs assistant Dwane Casey (in line for the Clippers job)? We haven't even mentioned college coaches like John Calipari (who won't leave Kentucky right now), Michigan State's Tom Izzo, or a long shot in Villanova's Jay Wright, although they're all being mentioned as candidates Stefanski would consider.
Yet, still we hear, "We're not worried about rushing into anything," according to Stefanski.
We know, Ed. But maybe you should be.
With all the candidates already on his "hidden" list, perhaps it would behoove the Sixers' GM to try and hire someone quickly. That way, either Snider or Luukko will go along with it and, hence, keep Stefanski employed. Or they'll make a decision and stop playing with a grown man's feelings. That way Stefanski can get on with his life and take the nearly $3 million he's owed over the next two years with him, enabling Sixers fans to zero in their focus on where it truly belongs: Snider and Luukko.
Executives try to persuade us that players are the ones who decide an organization's success or failure. That's not entirely accurate. It can't be when those same executives add and subtract bodies like a game of checkers, leaving the fallout for others to deal with.
The Eagles just did it. The results remain to be seen. But they have a recent track record, with numerous postseason appearances, to fall back on.
The operative word is recent.