It appears as though the NFL lockout will probably be coming to an end later this week. The sides apparently were able to come to terms on the contentious issues and hammer out a deal that will save the season. While I'm not particularly optimistic the NBA will follow suit, there is definitely one thing to keep an eye on in the next couple of weeks in the NFL, and keep in mind if/when the NBA gets its act together.
Check this out. It's widely believed the NFL owners will end the lockout when they meet in Atlanta on July 21st. Following the end to the lockout, the owners will get a three-day period to negotiate with their own free agents, then free agency will open for everyone. A couple of days later, training camps will open. Think about that time frame for a second, and then apply it to the Sixers.
If this lockout isn't somehow miraculously ended in the next sixty days or so, the Sixers are going to have maybe a couple of days to assemble their roster. In terms of free agency, they really only have two decisions to make. Will they extend Thad Young and will they withdraw their foolish qualifying offer to Spencer Hawes? But the larger issue here is that wee're talking about a brand new front office and brand new owners. Any moves they want to make, they're going to have to make in short order, or they're simply going to be stuck putting whatever roster they can on the floor (which, in all honesty, might be the preferable outcome.)
Odds are, the Thad situation won't solve itself in a couple of days. If other teams are interested in him - and I'm sure some will be - they'll at least kick the tires and maybe pull the trigger on a qualifying offer. But I wouldn't expect that qualifying offer to come quickly. There's a very good chance that if Thad does wind up staying in Philly, he'll be a very late arrival to training camp, if there even is a training camp. If the lockout were to end in late December, with an early January start to an abbreviated season, the Thad situation would almost surely bleed into the regular season with games being missed and a ton of uncertainty going forward.
The Sixers aren't the team in the worst shape if there's a fire drill to start the season, you've got a couple of squads with major pieces testing free agency, and a couple other teams with new coaches, new systems to learn, new front offices. The Sixers, by and large, have consistency with their system and personnel, but the longer this thing drags on, the more locked into their roster they are, at least for the start of the season.
The hope, as the title would suggest, is that Jason Levien and Co. take note of the abbreviated player movement time frame in the NFL and put their lockout time to good use. Bring in whatever analysts you're going to use, develop an internal system of player evaluation. Evaluate their own roster, then start on the rest of the league, identifying targets on other rosters who fit what you're trying to accomplish, and then do everything you can to put things in place for when the lockout ends. There's nothing to be done as far as free agents are concerned, the team doesn't have the money and you can't talk to players anyway, but there's nothing stopping you from talking to other general managers. There's no reason not to at least lay the groundwork for deals you can make whenever the lockout ends.