At 2pm today, teams can officially sign free agents, trade players, burn money and flush millions down the tube with little to no supervision. Of course, as your all know by now, the first blockbuster has already happened, and then un-happened. A bit on that plus an actual Sixers rumor that will make you want to stab yourself in the eye with a fork to follow.
OK, first my two cents on the Chris Paul trade. First, I don't think New Orleans should've made the trade to begin with. When they lose Paul, they are going to be left with a terrible, terrible roster. They need to rebuild, which means they need to get some combination of cap space, young players and valuable draft picks in return for their superstar. The Lakers deal gave them pretty much none of that. They'd have more cap room if Paul just left as a free agent. The youngest of the three guys they'd be adding is 28, and the draft pick they'd be getting is going to be somewhere in the late teens. This is terrible, terrible haul for New Orleans and you can honestly make the case they'd be better off as a franchise to simply let Paul walk.
If Stern vetoed the deal because he didn't want another superstar forcing his way to a big market, I'm fine with that as well. I'm not saying players don't have the right to choose where they play, but I am saying that players don't have to right to choose where they play and enjoy the benefits reserved for teams to retain their talent. If Chris Paul wants to play for the Lakers or the Knicks, he can opt out of his contract at the end of the season and sign a free agent contract with those teams (if they can clear the cap space). He's going to have to sacrifice about $40M to do that, and you know what, if he really wants to be there, he'll do it.
As for the Sixers, well, here's the rumor, according to HoopsWorld, Dwight Howard has identified Andre Iguodala as a player who could help Orlando retain the big man. As in, if they can acquire Iguodala, Howard might consider signing an extension and staying in Orlando.
Obviously, it would be tragic if the Sixers wound up helping Orlando keep Howard, but shouldn't this news have another effect? I mean, if Howard really wants to play with Iguodala, well, he can come to Philly. Iguodala's already here, after all. In fact, if Howard opts out next summer, the Sixers can clear enough cap space to sign him and keep their core intact. Sounds like a win-win to me.