Webber said he has talked to 76ers management and made his feelings clear.“I don’t like this role,” he said. “So, you can take that however you want.”
Shocking! I’m not sure what I’m more surprised by—that someone playing alongside Allen Iverson is dissatisfied in their role, or that Chris Webber is dissatisfied. I guess they’re both about even. You’ll remember that Webber almost retired rather than report to Sacramento, despite the fact that his stay there wound up resurrecting his career and earned him the enormous extension he’s still playing under ($43 million over this season and the next).
You’ll also see, if you read the story, that his minutes have dropped to a mere 30.6 per game. Which, for a 33-year-old power forward with a lengthy injury history (knee, shoulder) who’s played over 70 games in just one season since the ’00-01 season (and has never played the full 82, his high being 76—as a rookie), isn’t really all that bad. And of course the Sixers have played seven games so far, which is plenty of time to become dissatisfied. Webber obviously does have a little something left in the tank—he averaged a near 20/10 last season in 38 minutes a night. But then again, the Sixers finished 38-44 and missed the playoffs, so maybe it didn’t matter so much. Maybe someone else needs to get those shots to help the Sixers succeed.
I can understand that Webber wants to feel needed. Some would feel that his weekly six-digit checks would provide that—or that 30 of 48 minutes would be enough. Maybe he’d understand that the main goal is for the TEAM to make the playoffs, and thus make the best use of those 30 minutes. Track down rebounds, play good defense, make those passes out of the post that made him such a valuable piece in Sacramento. Accept that his All-Star days are probably past, and that a championship would be more important in the long run.
But no, the easier way out is to complain. To the media, no less. To essentially demand a trade, which, given his salary and injury history (and apparent me-first attitude) should be, well, impossible. Unless, of course, Isiah Thomas can put a package together. Iverson and Marbury, together at last? Can’t wait.