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Don't Count On Next Summer

The latest debate being kicked around in the comments centers around exactly how much cap space the Sixers will have next summer, how they can get more and who they should spend it on. My response to this line of discussion is...please, stop. Don't do it to yourself.

I have three fundamental problems with the whole "Let's dump Iguodala so we can pick up a max player next summer" logic.

1. What max-deal worthy player are you going to sign? - There is exactly one unrestricted free agent worth a max contract, Carmelo Anthony, and that's if he opts out of the last year on his deal (more on this later). There is exactly one restricted free agent worth a max contract, Kevin Durant. There is absolutely no way in hell Kevin Durant will be signing in Philadelphia after next season. The Sixers could offer the most allowed under the law and Oklahoma City would undoubtedly match. It's not going to happen. So essentially, what you're hoping and praying for is Carmelo Anthony, you're betting everything that Melo will take a look at a team with two decent players, both under 23, and say, "Philly's the place I want to be!" Let's just say I'm skeptical. The other possible free agents: Yao Ming, Chauncey Billups, Paul Pierce and Nene all have player options. None of them fill a need in a young way. Horford and Joakim Noah are both restricted free agents. You can probably forget both of those transformative talents. O.J. Mayo may be the one restricted free agent who you could possibly overpay to get, depending on what happens with Rudy Gay this summer, but again, Memphis could match any offer. There are definitely other advantages to clearing cap spaces, other opportunities could arise, but the whole, "Yeah, we're going to sign a max player superstar" thing just doesn't apply, not next summer. We aren't talking about a free agent class like this season's, it's going to be a weak, weak group of players.

2. How will they know what they need? - If the Sixers draft Turner and trade Iguodala, we will have a 23-year-old wing and a 20-year-old point, probably neither of whom have sniffed the post season, and we're going to project what they are, and what we need off that limited sample size? If Favors is the pick, we're going to have even less information to work with. This is essentially the same mistake they made with Brand, trying to hit the home run and skip a couple of years in the development process, jump from fringe playoff team to contender. We all know how well that worked out.

3. It could turn to dust - I'm not sure if there will be a lock out. I'm not sure if the new CBA will have a hard cap. I'm not sure if fully guaranteed contracts are going to disappear. The only thing that I'm 99% sure of is that the cap will decrease, probably significantly. Clearing enough cap space for a max contract under the current CBA doesn't guarantee you anything. In fact, I'd say the odds are better that you've ridded yourself of Iguodala's contract and left yourself without the means to replace him, or even come close to replacing him. Which brings us full circle to Melo. He has a player option for $18M+ for 2011-2012. He's going to have to make a decision on whether he'll exercise that option prior to the deadline for a new CBA to be ratified. Do you really think if a new CBA isn't in place by then he's going to opt out when odds are a max contract won't pay him nearly that much in its first year? I don't.

When it comes right down to it, there's no rush. Iguodala isn't at the end of his career, he isn't even nearing it. This team's window isn't this year, it isn't next year, it probably doesn't open until Brand becomes an expiring contract. If you're expecting a series of high lottery picks over the next couple years, I just don't see it happening. That's not what Collins came here for. Patience, that's what we all need right now. Some pieces are in place, let's see how they fit before we start down another path.
by Brian on May 27 2010
Tags: Basketball | Lock Out | Offseason | Salary Cap | Sixers |