That’s right well-deserved!
Maurice Cheeks received a 1-year contract extension, with an option for a 2nd year, that will finally put to bed the speculation he wouldn’t be back coaching the Sixers next season. In the final year of his contract, the team playing sub .500 ball, and a new president & GM on board, many believed Cheeks would be on his way out or actively asking for him to be out like this guy.
It was thought Ed Stefanski would want to bring in his own coach to lead the Sixers rebuilding effort, as it turns out that man is Mo. Stefanski clearly recognized the positives Cheeks has brought to this young team and the value he has for the organization. After the announcing the contract extension Stefanski had this to say about Cheeks,
“Since my arrival, I have been evaluating every aspect of the organization and I believe that Coach Cheeks deserves a great deal of credit for developing our players, putting them in a position to succeed and showing improvement every day. Coach Cheeks has done a very good job of installing an up-tempo brand of basketball that puts this team in a position to succeed on a nightly basis and we are excited about the future under his direction.”
We, as fans, are quick to call for a coach’s head when our team struggles for an extended period of time. More often than not the real source of the problem is a lack of overall talent and/or crapshoot collection of players that clearly don’t work well together. These have been the true reasons our Sixers haven’t won more, even during the Allen Iverson era.
Cheeks has this relatively young team playing hard every night. They have improved over the course of the season. And you can clearly see the development in players such as Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams. Is it just me, or has Samuel Dalembert been playing smarter basketball and having one of his best seasons? I attribute much of that largely to Mo.
I think Stefanski expects to make significant moves this summer in free agency and the draft that will equip Maurice Cheeks with enough talent to compete at a much higher level. This 1-year extension is essentially saying, “Mo you have done a great job with what you had to work with. Now it’s time for you take the next step and lead a more talented Sixers team against the big boys in the Eastern Conference next year.” A try-out if you will.
If the team vastly improves their record next season, I see a long-term deal in Maurice Cheek’s future. And I am rooting for just that. Who else would you want to be the face of the current Sixers franchise then a well-respected and loved Sixers great from the past?