The Philadelphia 76ers may be looking for a new general manager, but the current one—Rod Thorn—doesn’t plan on leaving his successor in a tough spot. After finally trading for the team’s next superstar, Thorn has wasted no time as he looks to lock Andrew Bynum up long-term and use the allure of a young All-Star to reign in an even bigger catch in next year’s star-studded free agent class.
According to 6ABC’s Jeff Skversky, the front office has already begun formulating an offer for the 24-year old center, one that would make him a wealthy man indeed:
Sixers are preparing a multi-year extension for Andrew Bynum that would make him 1 of the highest paid players in NBA. 20 Million a yr range
— Jeff Skversky (@JeffSkversky) August 20, 2012
This move has made sense from the beginning for several reasons, the most prevalent being the contract details set up by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement: the Sixers are the only team that can offer Bynum a true “max” contract—they have the option to offer him five years and up to $100 million, a price range that Skversky hinted to in his update. Other teams who could possibly go after Bynum during the 2013 free agency period could only offer him four years and $80 million, a clearly less enticing deal for someone as talented as him.
Bynum’s Philadelphia origins and the recent press conference—where he stated, “I’m really looking forward to making [Philadelphia] my home”, only confirm what many believed coming out of the blockbuster deal: Bynum is here to stay.
First, of course, Bynum would have to take this deal, but I, for one, don’t see that being a road block worth noting.
If the Sixers are willing to dole out that kind of money, then there is no reason for Bynum to want to leave: With Jrue Holiday developing into a quality starter, Arnett Moultrie brimming with potential and Thaddeus Young emerging as a viable Sixth Man of the Year candidate, Bynum is in a nice situation. Not only is he already surrounded by a young roster that will only improve over the next two years, but he’s being given major financial security when his troublesome knees don’t make it easy for teams to do so. And don’t forget the guards the Sixers could sign next season, among whom are Chris Paul, Monta Ellis, Tyreke Evans and Manu Ginobili just to name a few.
What is interesting to consider, however, is the impact this deal could have on the rest of the roster: If the deal as constructed goes through, the team will have the following cap hits allocated to the following players next season: Andrew Bynum ($14.8 million), Spencer Hawes ($6.5 million), Thaddeus Young ($8.04 million), Jason Richardson ($5.8 million), Evan Turner ($6 million), Lavoy Allen ($3 million), Kwame Brown ($2.8 million), Arnett Moultrie ($1.05 million), and Maalik Wayns ($480,000).
That is upwards of $48 million set aside for 9 players, and if you consider a possible Jrue Holiday cap hit of $8 million with a new contract, that could mean nearly 95 percent of cap space would be used up with only ten players. I hate to say it, but not many superstars are going to sign for under $2 million per year. Unless the team is happy with the roster as constructed above, it’ll take some nifty GM work by Thorn’s successor to navigate the Sixers around that one.
For now, however, let’s celebrate the likely dawn of a new era in Philadelphia, the Andrew Bynum Era.