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Dalembert trade was a move that Sixers had to make

SINCE TAKING OVER as the 76ers' general manager early in the 2007-08 season, Ed Stefanski has pretty much always had an item on his to-do list: trade Sam Dalembert.

SINCE TAKING OVER as the 76ers' general manager early in the 2007-08 season, Ed Stefanski has pretty much always had an item on his to-do list: trade Sam Dalembert.

The 6-11 center was about as unsettled during his 9-year tenure here as was the head-coaching situation, since Dalembert played for seven coaches.

The divorce was finalized Thursday when the team dealt Dalembert to the Sacramento Kings for center/forward Spencer Hawes and fierce swingman Andres Nocioni.

"People need a change of scenery sometimes," said Stefanski. "Sam asked to be traded numerous times. His agent called a lot and felt a change of scenery was necessary. We tried trading him but the [trade] kicker, that was the big problem."

For the Sixers to make a trade, the team that acquired Dalembert would have to add an additional 15 percent to Dalembert's remaining salary.

"We tried numerous times to accommodate him, but we had to make sure it was a [good] basketball deal and on the other side, with that trade kicker, a lot of teams shied away," Stefanski said.

But Sacramento kept coming back. The two teams had numerous discussions for months, the latest coming about 2 weeks ago, according to Sacramento president Geoff Petrie. Earlier this week, all the details were finally ironed out, and Hawes and Nocioni, also not happy in Sacramento, will be coming east.

"I just looked at the landscape of the team and thought of how were the pieces fitting," said coach Doug Collins. "Obviously, I was never here and coached Sam, but just watching the dynamics and how it all fit, I just feel like now if you look at our big guys, every one of our big guys are skilled offensively and they can all shoot. I think that's a great thing to be able to do. Now you have four interchangeable big guys.

"Now, do you lose some rebounding and shot blocking? Yeah, probably. But chemistry changes, dynamics change. And I think it's good sometimes when guys change."

Collins has a foursome of bigs who can play the center position in the 7-1 Hawes, 6-9 Elton Brand, 6-11 Marreese Speights and 7-footer Jason Smith. Hawes provides finesse and not a ton of defense, while Brand will be counted on to rebound and score, probably coming off the bench. Speights can score with anyone in the league but has mostly been allergic to defense in his two seasons, while Smith can provide energy, rebounding and outside shooting. Not a dominant rebounder among them, though Collins is OK with that.

"You've got to rebound by committee," the head coach of 26 days said. "We're not going to do one thing and everything else is going to go away. Can Elton Brand rebound the ball? Sure. Andre Iguodala's gonna go back and rebound the ball. You've got to have a forward get back and rebound. You do that as a team. At the end of the day, we're not going to have a guy like Dwight Howard who leads the team in rebounding.

"What I like about our team is we have guys who can rebound and turn and push the ball and we get right into the open court and I think that's critical. We're going to have guys who can run the wings and guys who can all handle the ball. We're not going to be dependent on just throwing the ball to Jrue Holiday and have him running the offense."

With the deal, many wonder whether the team has changed its focus on whom it will take with the second overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft. Stefanski steadfastly said: "I think it leaves us the same as where we were before, the same type of options we have. We're very fortunate we're drafting No. 2. We're still extremely happy for that situation, but I don't think that changes it a lot."

When asked whether he thinks the team needs a big man in the draft, Stefanski said: "I don't see it that way."

Conventional wisdom suggests the Sixers are pretty rock solid with taking Ohio State 6-7 swingman Evan Turner with that second pick. If you need a clue as to why, note that the Sixers' brass did not meet with the media concerning the Dalembert trade Thursday, instead waiting to talk until yesterday. Turner worked out for the team Thursday and was available to the media following that. Perhaps the brass didn't talk of the trade then so as not to detract from Turner's visit.

Trades always bring new beginnings for players and teams. No team needs a mulligan more than the Sixers after posting a putrid 27 wins last season. Now, with a new coach, ridding themselves of a disgruntled player and jumping up to the second pick in the draft, they appear to be marching that way. And the general manager isn't going to stand pat with what's already taken place.

"After you come off of a 27-win season, you have to be aggressive," Stefanski said. "We're very fortunate to have the No. 2 pick in the draft. We've got a coach like Doug Collins. We can make a trade. We've got two players that are NBA basketball players [in Nocioni and Hawes]. We're going to keep looking to see if we can tweak this even more. You have to be more active."

In Nocioni, the team added something that was sorely missing last season - toughness. It is something both Stefanski and Collins have talked about endlessly.

"One of the things I talked about was adding toughness to this team and Nocioni is one of the toughest guys in the league, which I think is going to help us," said Collins. "Hawes is a very skilled big guy.

"Sometimes young big guys have to go to another team before it all sinks in. Sometimes they go and they think it's going to be a certain way when they get traded and they get jolted. I talked to Spencer about that [Thursday night]. He's going to have a great chance here. We feel like he fits in to what we're trying to do and he's young [22]. He can shoot the ball and we feel like we can throw the ball into the post and cut off of him. He's a very good passer. When you lose Sam, you lose defensive rebounding, but you get a couple other pieces and we feel good about that."

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