With a few games remaining and the making playoffs a reality for Doug Collins only, focus on free agency has most assuredly been on the mind of everyone involved with the 76ers. The draft lottery is just that this year, a lottery. Free Agency is a much different animal altogether.
Everyone has a varying opinion on what the Sixers will do this offseason. From Andrew Bynum to Al Jefferson to Joel Przybilla, each would have a varying effect on the future of the franchise. Assuming the 76ers decide that tanking isn’t an option in 2013-14, here is what should transpire during free agency.
No trades or stretch clause are factored in, otherwise I’d trade the whole roster for Andre Drummond and Ryan Anderson.
So, next year’s team currently consists of Thad, Jrue, Hawes, J-Rich, ET, Lavoy, Moultrie, and Kwameeeee. Throw in the 76ers projected lottery pick and the team has about $13,000,000 to work with this offseason. The team needs a bit of everything and will take some smart moves to build a playoff team.
After the jump, I present the plan for what I’d do this offseason, if tanking in 2013-14 isn’t an option…
Dorell Wright needs to be brought back. He is a guy who can play +30mpg of ~average ball if necessary, and very cheaply. The only potential roadblock is if another team realizes the true value for a player like Wright, and they likely won’t if his trade to the 76ers this offseason is any indicator. Looking at his numbers this year and the 76ers putrid overall team, he will be an undervalued commodity. A 3-year deal paying $2.5 million in year 1, is stealing considering what DW can produce and that he will only turn 28 in December.
The new ownership group makes a reunion with “Slamming” Sammy Dalembert possible. Since 03-04, Dalembert is 55th in total minutes played in the NBA. While he will be 32 when next year starts, he will only be counted to play ~20mpg and injuries are obviously not a legitimate concern looking at his history. When you factor in recent playing time of only 16mpg, the 76ers should be able to bring him back into the fold for 2 million a year for 2 years. If Dalembert can put past feelings aside, he will be a great signing.
Ronnie Brewer, an underappreciated defensive stopper. A quick look at his B-Ref page…
And you must wonder why Brewer only received a veteran’s minimum deal this offseason. Then you wonder why Mike Woodson didn’t play him more. Further down the rabbit hole, you wonder why Scotty Brooks hasn’t played him for OKC after he was stolen from NYK for a 2nd pick and a few pesos. Brewer has dealt with injuries and a lack of playing time but that shouldn’t deter the team from getting value from an underappreciated player. Expect Brewer who just turned 28 to return to previous form as he signs for 3 years and $2 million per year.
That leaves the 76ers with 6.5 million in cap space. With that money, the team should go after Jose Calderon with every dollar of that, if necessary. He is a guy who could be a great mentor to Jrue and let him slide over to the SG spot for 18mpg, which I believe is a better spot for him at the moment. All you’ll get from Jose is ~30mpg, 11pts (57 TS%) with 7+ assists per game and a better than 4:1 assist to turnover ratio. He’ll be 32 next year and his defense is suspect but Jose is a Maestro with the ball and too valuable to pass up. Calderon inks a 2yr deal for 5 million a year.
With the final $1.5 million, I make a run at the “Birdman”. No explanation needed really. He’s a defensive beast and a guy who will attack the rim like everyday is his birthday. Yes he’ll be 35 and yes he has had past issues but when he signs here you can bet your bottom dollar that King James will tweet out that he is very disappointed about losing him as a teammate and that’s enough for me.
A quick glance at what these players could produce does create some hope for next year:
The playoffs and a competitive couple rounds of post-season basketball are certainly within the realm of reason and to be expected. There is the obvious concern with age, but Calderon, Dalembert and Birdman have shown a remarkable (whatever you call it) in their careers that has kept them relatively healthy.
If the 76ers manage to grab a lottery pick who can help in year 1, that will provide even more help to the franchise next year. Nothing the team can do will make it a championship contender this offseason. Fact is, if tanking isn’t in the cards, I can’t find a better way to spend $13,000,000 to build a competitive team. Here is a final look at what I’d try have the team look like if I was the “non-tank architect”
*Starters, +Rotation Players, ~Reserves
PG: *Calderon, Jrue, ~ET
SG: *Jrue, +Brewer, ~J-Rich, ET
SF: *Wright, Thad, Brewer, ET
PF: *Thad, +Hawes, ~Lavoy, ~Moultrie
C: *Birdman, +Dalembert, Hawes, ~Kwame
Plus the lottery pick whom I believe will be Alex Len of Maryland or Glenn Robinson III of Michigan.
This “hypothetical” 2013-14 76er team has everything a fan could want in a team that will truly compete on a nightly basis.
Ball Handlers, check
Perimeter Defenders, check
Interior Defenders, check
NBA players 3 spots deep at each position, check.
Based on everything the 76ers have said, tanking doesn’t seem to be in their plans. If that is the case, it will be interesting to see how they will go about building a winning team. Without a homerun lottery pick this year, anything but tanking will just delay the inevitable fate that tanking is the one true option.
If the 76ers put together a competitive team next year, people will rejoice in some respects. The question that bares asking, do the powers at be have the ability to put together a winning team with what little resources ($13 mil in cap room and projected middling lottery pick) currently available?
Follow us on Twitter @philadunkia