Aug 28, 2009, 9:00 AM EDT
By the 1989 off-season, memories of the champagne-flowing 1983 year were growing fainter and fainter for the Philadelphia 76ers. Julius Erving and Bobby Jones had retired. Andrew Toney had his career cut short by injury. Marc Iavaroni had played out his twilight years in Utah. Moses Malone had been traded to the Spurs, and was now flanking Dominique Wilkins on the Hawks. The last remaining piece from their championship season was point man Maurice Cheeks, the quarterback of the 76ers for over a decade. And on August 28th, 1989, Sixers GM John Nash made the end of the era official by trading Little Mo to the Spurs, along with Chris Welp and David Wingate, for Johnny Dawkins and Jay Vincent.
"I think Maurice is an all-star player," said Nash, not exactly going out on a limb in describing the four-time NBA All-Star. "We would hope that Johnny Dawkins could become an all-star." That never quite came to fruition, though Dawkins had a solid first season with the Sixers, going for 14 points and seven assists a game in helping lead the Sixers, now built around Charles Barkley, Hersey Hawkins and Mike Gminski, to a highly respectable 53-29 record. Unfortunately, the Sixers lost in the semis that year to the Chicago Bulls, and knee issues cost Dawkins all but four games in the Red and White the following season. Dawkins hung around into the dark days of the mid-90s, before being released by the team in 1994.
Cheeks, meanwhile, did not last long on Larry Brown's Spurs, getting swapped to the Knicks for the then-up-and-coming point guard Rod Strickland before the season's trading deadline. Cheeks played a couple years in New York before retiring as a Net in 1993.
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