If the lockout ends, and if there's a pure amnesty clause in there, and if the Sixers new owners are willing to shell out some extra money and if this all happens before the entire 2011-2012 season is wiped off the books, I've got an idea.
I said before I don't think the Sixers would use the amnesty clause to get rid of Elton Brand, but I kind of hedged my bets on whether they should. Here's how I feel about it. If cutting Brand is part of a larger plan that includes trading Iguodala for underpaid youth/expiring contracts, then I can kind of see the logic. The team would take a dramatic step backwards on the court, they'd probably have a high lottery pick this season, and they'd have assets to move around and possible land a big free agent down the road. I wouldn't necessarily throw my support behind this plan because (A) I really hate seeing bad basketball played and (B) I don't think this team can draw a premiere star unless they have a ton of pieces already in place in the puzzle and they can sell the star on coming to Philly as the key ingredient to a championship run.
If they're cutting Brand just to save money, I hate the idea with no qualification whatsoever.
But if they use the amnesty clause on Brand with a short-term plan in mind, then I think I could be on board, depending on the plan. Here's one way where I think it could work.
Step one is cutting Brand. Step two is rescinding the qualifying offer to Hawes. Step three is signing DeAndre Jordan to a three-year contract, let's say 3 years, $30M (which may be high, depending on the next CBA). Step four has two parts: First, you negotiate a contract with Nene, let's say 3 years, $36M. Before Nene signs the deal, however, you have to either get Thad Young to agree to sign his qualifying offer, or you're probably going to have to rescind that offer to create cap space.
Using the amnesty clause on Brand and rescinding qualifying offers to Hawes and Young would put the Sixers at $38.4M against the cap heading into this season. That's not going to leave enough cap space to get $22M in first-year contracts under the cap, but if you can either use the stretch amendment to get rid of Nocioni, or maybe work out a deal where you send Nocioni, a second rounder and cash to a team who would then use their amnesty on him, you could pull it off.
That would leave the Sixers with a rotation that looks like this:
- PG: Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams
- SG: Jodie Meeks, Evan Turner, Lou Williams
- SF: Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner
- PF: Nene, Craig Brackins, Marreese Speights
- C: DeAndre Jordan, Nikola Vucevic
Then, in the summer of 2014, the Sixers would have Iguodala, Nene and Jordan as expiring contracts when Jrue was heading into restricted free agency. If Jrue is the star of the future, you've got plenty of ammunition to work out a blockbuster trade or two to put a complete team together. In the mean time, you get bigger and younger and you can probably put one of the best defensive teams in the league on the floor.
Would you be on board with this approach? Am I grasping at straws because this lockout has drained the basketball life out of me? All of the above? Discuss.