It was just about a year ago that Ed Stefanski took a look at his roster and made his first move as GM. Kyle Korver and his $4M+ salary was moved out for a draft pick and Gordan Giricek.
At the time, I bet Stefanski didn't think his team would be in virtually the same position a full year later. So, the question is, will he pull the trigger on another deal? The bigger question, which we'll get into after the jump, is what would be the goal of the trade? Cap relief, or contention? For now, or for the future?
We went over what the Sixers have to trade
a couple of weeks ago, and that hasn't changed. For easy reference, here's the current roster, with salaries:
Elton Brand ($13,757,844)
- Andre Iguodala ($11,300,000)
- Samuel Dalembert ($10,520,000)
- Andre Miller ($9,999,999)
- Reggie Evans ($4,640,000)
- Lou Williams ($4,500,000)
- Willie Green ($3,388,000)
- Thaddeus Young ($1,968,120)
- Marreese Speights ($1,542,600)
- Jason Smith ($1,326,360)
- Donyell Marshall ($1,262,275)
- Theo Ratliff ($1,262,275)
- Kareem Rush ($926,678)
- Royal Ivey ($854,957)
If we ran a poll here, I'm pretty sure the results would say that the Sixers should be looking to trade for the future, rather than a missing piece or two for this season. I can't say that I disagree with that statement, but if I had my way I'd like to see them do both.
The problem is that the answer is never that simple. Let's forget about the team's play on the court so far this season. No matter what they've been able to do, or unable to do, they need shooting. Iguodala isn't this bad of a shooter, but he's never going to be great. The same goes for Lou, Willie, Miller and maybe Thad as well. That's the short-term and long-term need of the team, generally.
Specifically, if you're looking for help this season, it should be a shooting guard. If you're looking beyond this season, your targets should be either a replacement for Andre Miller who can knock down threes, a shooting guard with excellent range and/or enough cap space to be a player in the 2009 or 2010 free agent markets. Let's tackle the market for the last one first:Cap Space, Pure And Simple
Cap Space, With Benefits
- Stephon Marbury - Starbury's robust $20.8M salary comes off the books after this season. The Knicks have been frantically cutting payroll to get under the cap for the 2010 class. They've accomplished that mission, but now they have another problem. The only players they'll currently have under contract for the 2010/2011 season are Eddy Curry, Danilo Gallinari, Jared Jeffries and Wilson Chandler. Who is going to want to head to NY to play with that group? The Sixers could send Andre Miller and Samuel Dalembert to NY for Marbury, straight up. The Knicks would shed Miller's contract after the year and still have enough money to sign whoever they want after 2010. They could also find one or two other teams to take on Miller and Dalembert and send contracts that expire after next season to NY. The Sixers could either put Starbury at the point for the remainder of the seeason and cross their fingers, or they could buy him out. Either way, they'd be way under the cap this summer, and if they played their cards right, they'd be way under in 2010 with an extremely solid core still in place (Brand, Iguodala, Thad, Speights, Lou). They'd have enough room for a max contract.
Odds: Slim to none. I don't see NY wanting Dalembert's contract. The slim is if Stefanski could find a team interested in Dalembert who would send a short contract to NY as part of a three-team deal. This would be a white-flag move for the Sixers and I'm not sure Ed is ready for that. If it was up to me, I'd at least consider this deal. I hate white flags, but being that far under the cap with this core in place could be an ideal situation.
- Larry Hughes - His contract runs out after next season. His usefullness ran out about 3 years ago. He's not going to help this team even if he can manage to stay healthy, which he can't. The Bulls probably aren't dying to get rid of him, but if they really dig Dalembert, they'd probably rather give up Hughes than Hinrich, so maybe you can make it happen. If Miller walks after this season and they don't replace his salary, they'd then have boucoup dollars to spend on the 2010 free agent class.
Odds: Slim to none. I don't see a two-year white flag being waved by Stefanski. That's what this move would be.
- Wally Szczerbiak/Ben Wallace - Here's an interesting one for you. Say Stefanski and the team decides the Elton Brand move was an abject failure. They could move him to Cleveland for either Wally or Ben Wallace. The contracts work against the cap either way. It would be like a do-over in free agency next year. The Sixers would have $42M and change counting against the cap if they let Miller walk. Try again with Carlos Boozer? If the deal was for Wallace the money wouldn't come off the cap until the following summer.
Odds: I think Cleveland would do this deal in a heartbeat, and I also think LeBron would sign an extension this summer to stay in Cleveland if it happened. The Sixers, on the other hand, wouldn't and shouldn't. I'm not ready to give up on Brand, and they shouldn't be either. An interesting wrinkle would be adding Sammy to the deal and making it for both Wally and Wallace. They'd then Philly would be at about $42M against the cap next summer with another $14.5M coming off the following year. They could do some serious damage in both FA classes with that type of flexibility in back-to-back seasons. Would Cleveland take on Sammy in order to get Brand without having to give up any of their core players? I think they'd certainly consider it.
- Other Possibilities: Jason Kidd ($21M, expires this season), Shaq ($20M, expires after next season), Shawn Marion ($17M, expires this season), La Frentz ($12M, expires this season).
Odds: I don't see a deal for any of these guys making a whole lot of sense for either team.
Shooting Guard Trade Bait
- Jermaine O'Neal - Toronto may be the only team in the Eastern Conference more disappointed in their season than the Sixers. They made the big deal for Jermaine O'Neal and it just isn't working out. The Sixers could again send Miller and Dalembert to Toronto for O'Neal, straight up. Or a third or fourth team could be brought into the mix. The benefits for the Sixers would be a boatload of cap space after next season, enough to sign someone to a max deal. The benefit is that if you can find a way to keep O'Neal healthy, you've got a pretty dynamic front court in Brand and O'Neall.
Odds: Very slim. Toronto could make the deal, start Sammy alongside Bosh, use Miller as a backup for Calderon, then move on in the Summer with $10M in cap space they wouldn't have had before. They probably still wouldn't be far enough under the cap to do anything with that cap space, however. Dalembert's contract also runs a full two seasons longer than O'Neal's. This one I'm not so crazy about. The Sixers would be stuck starting either Williams or Ivey at the point this year, then they really couldn't use their mid-level next year or they'd be eating into their cap space for the following summer.
- Brad Miller - His $12.5M salary comes off the books after next season and I think he'd be a perfect compliment to Brand's game at the center position. You could move Miller for him, but then you have a hole at PG and you're trading away your own expiring contract in the deal. If they'd take Dalembert, I'd do it in a second, but they wouldn't.
Odds: I think Sacto would love to move Miller, but not in this deal.
Point Guard Of The Future
- Jason Kapono - I saw a rumor that the Raptors offered Kapono to the Nuggets for J.R. Smith straight up. The Nuggets turned them down. If this is indeed the case, then I suppose Kapono is on the block. He has a horrible contract ($18M over the next three seasons), so maybe you could work something out for him. Could the Sixers put together a package to get him, and would his shooting make up for his glaring weaknesses in every other area of the game?
Odds: Slim. Reggie Evans for Kapono straight up works against the cap and their salaries are the same length, but why would Toronto make that deal?
- J.R. Smith - Although he's a BYC scheduled to make about $15M over the next three seasons, the Nuggets can still move him thanks to a $10M trade exception. Here's the thing, though, what do the Sixers have that Denver would want? They're dreading the luxury tax, and they also look like they're more of a contender now than they were last year, so they have to be looking for a piece that works now. I don't see anyone on the Sixers as that.
Odds: I'd love to see him a Sixers uniform (especially after tonight's game) but I just don't see how they'd work it out.
- Ben Gordon - See this post.
- Mike Milller - For my money, the ideal trade for the Sixers to make would be Samuel Dalembert for Mike Miller. Miller's deal expires after next season, one year shorter than Sammy's deal. You slide him into the 2 right away and leave him there for a couple of seasons.
Odds: If Minny made Miller available, there would probably be plenty of teams willing to pay more than the Sixers could offer. The only thing I could possibly see them doing is asking for Andre Miller so they could get cap relief next season, but that defeats the purpose. The Sixers would be left with no point for this season and no cap space to sign one in the offseason. If they could make two deals, like Miller for Miller and Dalembert for Hinrich, well then we'd be talking.
- Michael Redd - Two years plus a team option left on his deal. Milwaukee may be interested in Miller's expiring deal, I suppose they'd be interested in Brand as well, but that wouldn't make a whole lot of sense. You could come up with garbage packages that make the deal work, but the bottom line is that the Sixers don't have the pieces to make a deal for Redd work unless Milwaukee is run by total idiots. They are about $15M over the cap with this team though, so that's not exactly a far-fetched notion.
Odds: Slim. I'm not really a big fan of Redd. If they could get him without giving up Miller he'd fit, but I don't see how they could.
- Vince Carter - Long contract, no spine. Any deal would probably have to involve Miller so they could get under the cap sooner.
Odds: Not going to happen.
- Kirk Hinrich - See this post.
- Mike Conley - He doesn't exactly fit the mold of a point who can shoot (although he is shooting 36.5% from 3 on the year), but he could fit the mold of a guy who could take over the point if/when Miller leaves after this season. He's playing 25 minutes/game for Memphis, but Lowry's starting. They may be willing to deal him. They may be willing to do it for Andre Miller if you threw a sweetener in, like taking Marco Jaric or Darko's contract off their hands as well.
Odds: I might consider this one. It would give the Sixers an answer when you asked, "Who's going to play the point after this season." It's not exactly a move that's going to put them over the top by any means, though. Maybe they could get the deal done for someone other than Miller.
- Raymond Felton - He could probably be had, but would we want him? Not a great shooter at the position, sketchy injury history. Can't shoot the three. I won't even begin to guess what kind of players Larry Brown is interested in after the Jason Richardson deal.
Odds: Who knows with LB.
Obviously, there are players out there who may or may not be available who I didn't list above. I tried to look through, see which teams have excess at positions, which teams have needs that might align with what the Sixers can offer. I think the above lists are a fairly good representation. So, put on your GM hat. Who do you want, which fictitious deal I concocted strikes you as the best move for the team? Would you do anything? Which one do you think is most likely to happen. Leave your thoughts (and any trade scenarios you can come up with) in the comments and let's discuss.