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With Iverson Trade Looming, Prepare for the Worst

Feb 13, 2006, 2:38 PM EDT

Editor’s note: I  think Billy King sucks.  My boy Matt agrees, but puts it more eloquently for you in a guest post.

When the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu for less than market value this summer, many Philadelphians (myself included) second-guessed the move for netting too little in return. “Chemistry-improving” moves like these often do. However, what I later learned was that Pat Gillick is in fact still a very savvy GM, unafraid to make the risky, unpopular first move of a mid-scale overhaul. As the Phillies put together an enjoyable but unsuccessful playoff run late this summer, I learned a rare, reassuring lesson: trust in Pat Gillick.

I wish I could say the same about Billy King, and I know I’m not alone. Despite my getting schooled by Gillick on how to build a contender, I have zero optimism that King can pull off anything that will make his naysayers eat their words, and, more importantly, put together a deal that will help ease the pain of losing one of the three best players in the history of the franchise.

The funny thing is, I’m not even much of a Sixers fan, and I have little interest in the NBA. It’s about to get worse for me though, because the one guy I can really get behind is about to leave town. I have been fortunate to see him play live from just a few rows back quite a few times, and every time, I was amazed.

If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to read Bill Simmons’s take on AI, in which he bronzes Iverson and eulogizes (I hope) King’s atrocious career with the Sixers. I usually nod and laugh while reading Simmons. I’ve never agreed with him more than I do today, while not laughing at all. Here’s a particularly painful moment from his column:

Philly isn’t dealing Iverson because he’s washed up. They’re dealing him because Billy King did a preposterously bad job building this team and antagonized his only real asset in the process. Big difference. King even choked last summer when he could have landed Carlos Boozer and Boston’s No. 7 pick for Iverson, choosing instead to bring the Answer back for another, inevitably frustrating season (and killing much of his trade value in the process). Not only should Sixers season-ticket holders be outraged, they should figure out a way to sue this team for negligence. Iverson should have retired as a Sixer; it’s not happening because King stinks at his job. These are the facts.

The hottest of many rumors has The Answer headed to Golden State, and it seems to have some legs, since one of the possible future Sixers did not play last night with a questionable injury. So with word of a deal expected anywhere from any minute to “nothing in sight,” I’m preparing not only for the departure of my favorite NBA player (ever), but also for Billy “the Wound Salter” King to totally shit the bed on the deal. I had some great chili from John’s Village Market for lunch; for dinner, I hope I eat my words.