Ok...I'm not sure about all of you, but I feel like the 'drafting Jrue Holiday' debate has been beaten to death and no one has won or lost because no one could win or lose. It takes maybe 3 years to figure out how guys are really going to turn out - especially drafted that low. So until then, there are other issues the sixers have to deal with.I supposed that we could talk about summer league, but I don't want to. I find it irritating and a waste of time right now. The sixers are working with the Nets which means it'll be a mish mash of players and who knows what else and I find it no more interesting than a pick up game. I'd rather the Sixers do some kind of OTA like in the NFL for a week, I think they'd get more out of it than this stuff. Run 5 on 5s with players on the team together. To me, summer league is more of a waste of time then usual - though maybe Holiday and Speights get some time together.
I'm going by memory here, but I think free agency opens on July 1st, but there's a 'signing moratorium' until July 8th. You can agree but you can't make it official.
Now, let's remember the basics, the sixers have no cap room, but they have room under the luxury tax. Depending on who you believe, Comcast is or isn't willing to pay the luxury tax, I fall in the category that believes Comcast isn't willing to pay the luxury tax.
The numbers aren't set yet, according to what I've read, but the cap/tax levels aren't likely to move much if at all this off season so the sixers probably have about 8-9 million left before paying the tax as I understand it.
As I three it there's at least three issues that the sixers have to deal with, two immediately and one is kind of a luxury they don't have to fill this year. It's a 'contending teams' issue per se:
- Starting Point Guard
Wherever you stand on the Jrue Holiday debate, I think we can all agree that he probably won't be ready to start once the season starts. A new way of life, a new place, a new coach, a new system, he's going to be pretty busy. Andre Miller would be the 'easiest' to keep cause the sixers can afford to offer him more but there's the pesky salary cap and the whole 'he doesn't fit the system' issues. Plus he's old and I don't think he'd sign a two year deal, or three, and I don't want the sixers to sign anyone for more than three years. I see the next point guard as a place holder until Holiday is ready (All star break 2011 is my prediction) to take over the reins. There are a lot of point guards out there that might be 'gettable' but for one reason or another I don't think they're viable. Sessions will want too much money, Kidd will want to win. One named bandied about is Brevin Knight, which is an interesting stop gap as long as you're willing to take on a point guard who shoots worse than Andre Miller (seriously, dude has a sub 15% 3 point FG% for his career if I read the numbers right), but he is a solid pass first point guard who can play some defense. Not ideal of course, but the ideal point guard isn't available for the sixers this off season. I don't know anything about Jamal Tinsley except that Indiana hates him and has been looking to dump him for over a year now - if they would be willing to take on problem number 2 - why the hell not - unless his contract runs until like 2015.
Sam Dalembert has to go, while he may be adequate defensively, he will kill the new offense that Eddie Jordan will want to instigate. When Jordan was hired, I felt it was the 'death knell' for three players as sixers. One of them is gone (Evans) one is relegated to the bench and hopefully no more than 10 MPG (Green) and then there is Dalembert. The rumored (bs?) bobcats trade never happened, and honestly, I don't think it would have helped. Mohammed is terrible offensively too but doesn't bring the defense even Sam Dalembert brings. So yes, the sixers need to upgrade center and trade Sam, but they can upgrade the center position without HAVING to trade Sam, yet, and they has the money to do it. One Polish Hammer later of the Orlando Magic. Restricted free agent, Orlando probably can't match a solid deal to him after ruining their team last week with the trade for Vince Carter. Chad Ford projects that he'll get 14-16 on the open market which sounds like less than MLE for 3 years I think. I sign him for 4 at least and offer him much more - according to one poster on another board the sixers could give him like 35 million over the life of his contract. This is a position of need right now with options right now. I think the primary target this off season has to be Gortat. That's just me.
The sixers need two things off the bench, shooters and defense. They added a shooter (Kapono) who doesn't do much else by giving up little to nothing that isn't easy to replace. Jason Smith might come back healthy and provide some outside shooting (but I don't think 3's) and speights may progress defensively but these aren't htings you can count on. Lou and Will doen't shoot or defend very well, and if you can improve either of those by trading them, more power to them. As for Lou Williams as point guard, I don't buy it, it's been 2 season with various amounts of attempting and none of it is working and as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't progress either. It's a failed experiment in my opinion, don't keep trying it. To paraphrase:
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
So yes, I think it would be insane to keep running Lou Williams out as point guard and he should be the third point guard after draft night and a free agent being signed. But improving the bench, in the short term, like I said, it's a luxury, the sixers aren't really going to contend next year in my opinion (i've stated why repeatedly, if someone reads all the way to this and is interesting, I'll explain again in the comments.
So that's it, I guess, a little 'priming the pump' to start off the free agency discussion. I went purely from memory here, I don't know which free agents are available at all the positions off the top of my head and the moneys are just estimations, but I think there are two things that have to be done this offseason, to sum up:
- Get a point guard - to mentor holiday
- Get a center who can defend but has offensive skill
One other thing, and if you think this makes me not a fan, whatever. I don't think if the sixers miss the playoffs next year it would be a bad thing. LIke I said, they aren't championship contenders, so being in the lottery wouldn't be horrible. If Chad Ford has any credibility with you, next years draft is deep in big men (you know, big men, like centers, like the sixers migth need). Now, I'm not saying I want the sixers to lose, I just am not worried about the won loss record as much as I am worried about the following:
- The continued development of Thaddeus young as a three towards stardom
- Integration of Elton Brand as a sixer, and a fully healthy season after some freak injuries, as a power forward
- Andre Iguodalas continued (and still increasing) development as a shooting guard.
- Speights and Holiday progressing as I hope and believe they will
- Learning the system, the new Jordan system, and getting it backwards and forwards
To me those 5 things are more important than whatever record the sixers have next year.
I could say more about other things - but I kind of wanted to focus this on free agency, and since i tend to ramble and meander, I'll just stop now.
Thanks for reading, I know some of you think all I do is criticize, but really I don't - I swear - so feel free to rip this apart :)