by Clark Groome
The Flyers bought out Danny Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov. The NCAA disciplined new Eagles head coach Chip Kelly for recruiting violations while he ran the football program at Oregon.
The ‘76ers are convinced they had a successful draft.
The Philadelphia Union’s Jack McInerney has been named to the U.S. National Team and will compete in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Tournament.
So here we are in July watching and wondering what the future holds for the local professional teams, all of which are inhabiting a somewhat sorry place right now. While each team has a different set of questions to answer, there is one that all teams regularly deal with: Is a bird in hand worth two in the bush?
The 76ers traded all-star Jrue Holiday for Nerlens Noel, a player the New Orleans Pelicans picked sixth in the NBA draft. The Sixers believe they got a big piece of their future. They also gave up their best player to get him. Wise idea or not?
The 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie admits his team is rebuilding. Moving Holiday was part of that process.
Noel is recuperating from an ACL injury and won’t be able to play until at least December. Knees are tricky. The team has just spent a year hoping that proven big man Andrew Bynum could recover from knee problems that ultimately kept him off the floor for the season. Granted his knee problems are different than Noel’s. Still, would they be better off with a sure thing now or a potential big player later?
The Flyers, during the period leading up to the NHL draft, were reportedly considering trading defenseman Braydon Coburn for a higher draft pick. Ultimately they didn’t do it, and their draft seems to have been a good one.
That said, even considering trading one of the team’s top three d-men when defense is where the team needs strengthening could be viewed as shortsighted. As of the end of the weekend, there’s still talk about trading proven players, in large measure to unload salary in a tight salary-cap world.
And talk abounds about what the Phillies should do if they are, as people expect, pretty much out of the pennant race when the trade deadline arrives at the end of the month. The chatter has been about trading second baseman Chase Utley, closer Jonathan Papelbon, pitcher Cliff Lee and catcher Carlos Ruiz.
Utley and Ruiz will become free agents after this season so the reasoning there is if they’re not going to be re-signed then they should be traded so the Phils could get something in return.
But Lee and Papelbon will still be under contract next year so why, when they are both performing well (despite Papelbon’s rough patch a couple of weeks ago), do you trade guys who can help you now and in the future? Yes, the Phillies need to get younger. Yes, the farm system won’t be the answer to all its needs, especially in the bullpen, but, still, what’s the answer? Who knows for sure?
While to-trade-or-not-to-trade is a question facing all the teams, there are others that pop up as we watch the locals plan for the future. Here are some to ponder as the summer swelters on:
• What can the Phillies do near-term and long-term to fix the worst bullpen in baseball?
• Should the Flyers re-sign veteran Simon Gagne?
• Was it a good idea for the Flyers to sign Vincent Lecavalier, 33, and Mark Streit, 35, to multi-year contracts considering their age and their price?
• Did Chip Kelly’s pending troubles with the NCAA play a part in his decision to leave Oregon for the Eagles job? Does that matter?
• Who should the Eagles quarterback be: Michael Vick, Nick Foles or the exciting rookie Matt Barkley?
• How will the Union fare without its top scorer?
• Why is the choice of a new head coach seemingly such a low priority for the Sixers?
But be not afraid, there was some hopeful news over the last few days: The Flyers signed captain Claude Giroux to an eight-year contract extension.
They also signed former Flyers goalie Ray Emery to a one-year deal. Emery’s first time here ended in 2010 when he was diagnosed with avascular necrosis, a potentially crippling hip disorder. Since making a remarkable and courageous recovery, he played well for the Anaheim Ducks and, last season, for the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks.
The Phillies will send outfielder Domonic Brown and pitcher Cliff Lee to the July 16 All Star Game at Citi Field in New York.
Finally, classy fan favorite Danny Briere has landed a two-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens. He is certain to get a rousing, and well-deserved, “welcome home” when the Habs make their first visit to the Wells Fargo Center next season.