SportsProf

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

And the Only Reason Billy King Keeps His Job As 76ers' GM Is. . .

that the 76ers are up for sale.

Think about it, the Flyers get off to an atrocious start this year. First, the cut three players, including a 15-year NHL veteran and a free agent they signed in the off-season to firm up their back line, and, then, they show long-time fan favorite and favorite of owner Ed Snider, Bob Clarke, their GM, the gate, along with well-respected coach Ken Hitchcock. Put simply, the Flyers were caught napping when the NHL changed the rules after the strike season and ended up with lummoxes when they needed cheetahs. Most teams figured out that the brawling, hit 'em with your big guys style that Ed Snider helped found in the mid-1970's finally became extinct.

Except for Snider and Clarke, and, well, the "owner" (Snider acts as owner but Comcast Corporation actually owns the team) doesn't get fired. It had to be hard for Snider, though, to see Clarke go, because Clarke is like a second son to him.

So why was the headline about the 76ers? Because Comcast owns them, too, and they've performed worse than the local hockey team over the past five seasons and Billy King still holds onto his job as GM. Funny thing was that King was once rumored to be a U.S. Senate candidate to face Republican Arlen Specter. That led to two thoughts -- 1) he could do less damage in the Senate than he could to the local hoops team and 2) what made anyone think he could do anything in the Senate since he's failed at helping run the local hoops team, Duke degree and Coach K connection (as well as Larry Brown connection) or not.

But Billy King remains, probably because the team is up for sale and won't make any changes until it is sold. Somehow, it strikes me that Billy King won't be the GM under the new ownership, and he may want to hook up with his fellow Duke alums Christian Laettner and Brian Davis and try for a second act with the Memphis Grizzlies.

At any rate, don't look for either the Flyers or the 76ers to improve quickly.

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