The 2012 NBA Draft is over, and the Philadelphia 76ers should look forward to a free agency period that could be filled with a lot of refreshing change.
That change started with taking two first-round selections, Arnett Moultrie and Moe Harkless. Bucking the recent trend, the Sixers took upside and athleticism over college production and polish. It is nice to see players who have All-Star potential a few years down the road instead of barely above-average youngsters who might start for a couple years of their career.
Now that the Sixers have their rookie class pretty much set, they should seriously consider an overhaul of the roster. As much as we hate to admit it, without the Derrick Rose injury, the Sixers would have won one playoff game at most. This team is average and that needs to change.
Here are four offseason moves I think will help the team make a deep playoff run next year!
Amnesty Elton Brand
The 76ers got their power forward of the future when they traded a future first-round pick and center Justin Hamilton to the Miami Heat for Mississippi State prospect Arnett Moultrie.
Now why should they keep a colossal $17 million-plus salary on their hands—and more importantly the cap space it eats up—when they have a rookie power forward with a lot of talent and a versatile combo forward—Thaddeus Young—who has been a savior off of the bench in recent years?
If you’re as perplexed as I am regarding this question, then we’ve come to an agreement: The Philadelphia 76ers should use the amnesty clause on Brand as soon as possible, because all he’ll do in 2012-2013 is be a progress stopper..
Just think of it this way: using Brand’s $17 million, they could re-sign Lavoy Allen, Lou Williams, Spencer Hawes and Jodie Meeks (salaries via hoopshype.com) for one more year based off of their 2011 salaries. And they’d still have a couple million dollars to spare.
Let Go of Williams, Hawes and Meeks
Now that you’ve come to this part, disregard what I just said about re-signing these guys. It was just a hypothetical.
Let’s start with Lou Williams. The Sixers already pay one productive bench player, Thad Young, $7.5 million per year; and he scores, rebounds and plays defense, unlike Lou.
Lou is asking for $8 million per year to do what exactly? Score and create shots, two things he does at the expense of his teammates. Lou has never been the most willing passer and he definitely isn’t a top-notch defender. Over-paying for someone as one-dimensional as Lou is a sure-fire way to plummet in the standings. The Sixers would be smart to let him walk.
Spencer Hawes is definitely not an option either. Not only would he be blocking the path for Nikola Vucevic and a possible free agent signing by staying on the roster, but his production isn’t worth a $6million salary. Parting ways with a soft, non-traditional post scorer who costs too much would make many Sixers fans happy.
Then we come to sharpshooter Jodie Meeks. The problem with Meeks isn’t necessarily that he makes too much money—though the $3 million he wants is a bit of a stretch—but that he just doesn’t fit. His overall shooting numbers took a slight dip in 2011 and he seems to have hit his ceiling as an NBA player.
I wouldn’t be devastated if they brought him back for the said price, but it would make a lot of sense for it to be below $2.5 million or nothing at all.
Use Extra $ To Sign A Shooter
If the Sixers were to follow my recommendations for the last four moves, they would free up almost $29 million in cap space. Some of that would go to signing Arnett Moultrie and Moe Harkless, but the team would still have more than half of that amount left at the end of the day.
The Sixers got another athletic point-forward in the draft, but once again his athleticism isn’t joined by a good outside shot. The Sixers now have a young core of three athletic guards—Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday and Harkless—who can’t shoot very well.
To fix that problem, the front office doesn’t need a guy who can start, but someone who’ll play 15-20 minutes and hit open shots from beyond the arc.
Two guys that come to mind? Ray Allen and Willie Green.
Both are unrestricted free agents and neither is likely to be pursued heavily by his old team—the Celtics and Hawks, respectively.
Allen shot over 45% from three-point range in 2011, an incredible number. The Sixers saw his excellence firsthand in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where he broke out of a slump to bury the Sixers in a fourth quarter flurry. Sure, he struggled at times during the series, but he is the pure shooter the Sixers could use off the bench in key situations.
Green, a former Sixer, shot 42.4% from deep last season. After being signed late in 2011 by the Hawks, he isn’t likely to re-sign with Atlanta for the 2012-2013 campaign. He will give the Sixers another option at the two guard to hit buckets when called upon and could help alleviate offensive problems throughout the season.
Trade Andre Iguodala for a Big Man
Now that the Sixers have athletic young small forward Moe Harkless on board, they have no reason to keep Andre Iguodala. Sure, they can have him sit on the bench and “learn the ropes”, but how has that worked out for the Sixers in the past? Oh yeah, it hasn’t (see Nik Vucevic and Evan Turner for good examples—so far).
There have been rumors flying around that the Sixers are interested in a number of big men including Pau Gasol, Roy Hibbert, Josh Smith and Kris Humphries.
Gasol, for example, might have an inflated salary, but the Sixers need someone to step in and play next to Moultrie in his rookie year. A lot of teams need an athletic wingman who plays great defense and can get to the hoop.
Iguodala’s trade value is at his highest, which is why the team needs to get as much out of him trade-wise as they can.