When Ed Stefanski moved into Philly's front office last December, a lot of people figured it was just a matter of time before Mo Cheeks was handed his walking papers. After all, Cheeks was in the midst of the final year of his contract, and in this day and age of the salary cap and guaranteed contracts, the easiest way for a new GM to put his stamp on an organization is hand-picking a new coaching staff.
But instead of giving Cheeks the axe, Stefanski gave him a one-year extension in February. And after watching Cheeks orchestrate a surprising second-half run, in which the Sixers went from being 12 games under .500 to not only securing the seventh seed but also pushing the favored Pistons to six games, Stefanski rewarded Cheeks with another extension today. (How many years? Stay tuned -- exact details should come out after this afternoon's press conference.)
After Philly made a big splash earlier this summer by giving truckloads of money to Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala, I'm guessing today's news will barely register on the radar of most NBA fans. But in my opinion, locking Cheeks up should prove to be just as (if not more) instrumental to Philly's re-emergence as one of the top teams in the East.
He's enjoys teaching the game as much as he does coaching it, which is absolutely vital considering Philly will be relying on the development of high-ceiling youngsters like Louis Williams, Thaddeus Young and Marreese Speights as much as the veteran leadership of Brand, Iguodala and Andre Miller.