The Sixers have reported to Happy Valley for the official start of their training camp. From here we have a little over a week of solid practice, then the first preseason game against the Celtics at UMass, then six more preseason games and finally the opener on Wednesday, October 29th against Toronto.
It kind of snuck up on me. I'm still licking my Yankee wounds and crossing my fingers for the Eagles season (and Westbrook's health). Now, out of nowhere, what may go down as the best offseason (certainly the most-expensive) in the history of the franchise is giving way to the games. Check out Philly.com
if you get a chance, oodles of Sixers' coverage. Mostly fluff pieces, but still, the Phils are in the playoffs, the Eagles look like they might be back, and still the Sixers are commanding a ton of ink. It's great to see some preseason excitement about this team coming from somewhere other than the blogosphere.
ESPN.com's first power ranking of the season
was released earlier this week, the Sixers landed at number 8. They're high on the Brand signing and say the Sixers could finish anywhere from 2nd to 6th in the East. Personally, I think they're going to be in the top 4, but we'll get to predictions when we're closer to the season.
As the guys start to figure out how to gel on the court, and the coaches try to figure out who's going to be on the court, I figured I'd kick off the preseason by throwing a curveball out there. Check after the jump for a midseason trade possibility that may surprise you a little bit.
Ben Gordon seems resigned to accepting the qualifying offer of $6.4M from the Chicago Bulls. He's not happy about it. All Summer he's been saying he wants a long-term deal. Before the Olympics, he said he wouldn't be back in Chicago. Well, all of his options are gone, and now he's headed back to the Bulls and an extremely crowded backcourt. Here's the question, if you were Ed Stefanski, would you make a play for Gordon?
If this was an avenue Stefanski wanted to pursue, he couldn't make the deal until the end of December
(3 months after he signs his contract) and Gordon would have to consent to the deal, knowing that he'd lose his Bird Rights next Summer. If Gordon signs, finds himself behind Larry Hughes at SG and losing major minutes to Hinrich, Hughes and Love, he could be up for a change of scenery to help him build his value. It's highly doubtful that the Bulls will be exercising his Bird Rights next Summer anyway.
So, assuming the Bulls are willing, and Gordon is willing, what could the Sixers offer if they decided they could use Gordon for the latter part of the season? Gordon's qualifying offer will be for a little over $6.4M. The Sixers would have to send about $5.8M in salary to Bulls to make the deal work under the cap. Looking at the Sixers' salaries, I think Reggie Evans and Jason Smith would probably be the best package they'd be willing to part with. You'd probably have to throw in a future draft pick or two as well, because Evans' contract is not favorable ($14.6M over the next 3 season).
It's doubtful that the Bulls would make this deal, though. If they stand pat, they'd have Gooden and Gordon coming off the books after the season, and if they pick up all the team options on their players (they have a $4.7M team option of Tyrus Thomas and then the next season his qualifying offer is $6.25M! You can't pay that much for him, can you?) they'll have about $58M counting against the cap. That could leave them with about $10M in cap space to sign someone. That's probably the route they'll take.
Let's suspend disbelief for a moment and say that the Bulls like Evans. Let's say they want to stockpile draft picks, and they're targeting the 2011/2012 season to make a big splash in free agency. Let's say they like Jason Smith's game, and they're willing to wait on him to be their PF of the future. If the stars aligned and the Sixers could get Gordon, would you make the deal? This would be a strict rental, the Sixers could not go over the cap to sign him following the season. Would you prefer this lineup heading into the playoffs?
With Thad and Lou as the first two coming off the bench?
If the answer is yes, start rooting for disharmony in Chicago. If Gordon isn't getting his touches, he's going to be mighty angry. Of course, that may be a reason you don't want him on your team. He's playing for a contract as an unrestricted free agent next Summer, for a guy who's never been shy about shooting the ball, that could be a recipe for disaster.
Thoughts in the comments, as usual. (I'm really looking forward to having some games to write about).