The Philadelphia 76ers had a quite the summer. They were a game away from playing the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals and still decided to overhaul their roster, acquiring Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson in the Dwight Howard deal, surrendering Andre Iguadola in the process.
At the same time, the team was (and still is) in the process of looking for a new general manager to replace Rod Thorn. According to Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers had their sights set on Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri to run the team.
The 76ers were granted permission to talk to Ujiri earlier in the summer, but he ultimately resisted what would've been a lucrative package to replace Sixers president and GM Rod Thorn, sources said."
First of all, it is a little shocking Ujiri didn't take the reported $2 million a year that was being offered. That is quite a bit of money for a young, athletic team that came close to making the Eastern Conference Finals. It is not like he was being offered a ton of money to go run the Bobcats. According to Woj, Ujiri's releationship with Kroenke family and the team he has built since taking over played a huge role in his decision to stay.
This automatically makes Ujiri one of the best guys in the NBA. He is like the opposite of Carlos Boozer turning his back on Cleveland owner Gordan Gund and signing a contract with Utah.
Looking bigger picture, what would have happened if Ujiri had become Sixers GM before the draft? Do the Sixers still take Maurice Harkless and do they still trade for Andrew Bynum? Think about it, Ujiri is the guy that traded for Andre Iguodala, so how do we know he would have been willing to part with him in a Bynum deal? One thing that is for sure is he would not have amnestied one year left of Elton Brand so he could sign the Kwame Brown/Spencer Hawes combo to multi-year deals. Sorry Sixers fans, that still happened.
Photo: Pro Sports Colorado