I have suggested previously that the SIXERS should try their best to win now, in the upcoming 2014-2015 season. Many people argue that this could cost us our 2015 1st round pick. So let's take a hard look at the value of that pick.
If we fail to make the playoffs this upcoming season, and the 2015 pick is in the lottery, we get to keep the pick, and it will be somewhere in the 1 - 15 range by definition. If we make the playoffs, we instead give up our 2nd round pick in 2015, and also our 2nd round pick in 2016. Those are the simple facts. We owe 1 1st round pick, or 2 2nd round picks. There is some differential in value there - the challenge is in evaluating how much value.
Let's start with a few more facts. Thanks to the Saric deal, we no longer owe anyone any other future 1st round picks. We also have all of our future 2nd round picks currently - none are owed from any other deals. In addition, we now own the 2015 2nd round picks of Orlando, Golden State and New Orleans. We also own Denver's 2016 2nd round pick, and the Clippers 2018 2nd round pick. So at the absolute worst, right now, we have 4 2015 2nd round picks, plus a 1st and 2 2nd rounders in 2016. It is hard to imagine that Sam Hinkie can't parlay some of those 6 2nd round picks into a 1st round pick next year somehow. Given his history, it is also difficult to imagine that he couldn't use those 6 2nd round picks over the next two drafts and find a pretty nice player or two.
Now let's look harder at the much discussed cap clearing scenarios with either the Bulls or the Rockets. The Bulls currently are right at the projected limit of $63MM, including $15.3MM owed to Carlos Boozer. They also have great assets to offer, including extra 2015 1st round picks from Sacramento and Cleveland, and Portland"s 2nd round picks in 2015 and 2016. Unfortunately, per NBA rules, if they trade Boozer they must take back at least 75% of his salary, or at minimum 50% if trading to an uncapped team like the SIXERS. The only way they can get all $15MM of his cap space back is via the amnesty route. Thus, even in an unbalanced trade with the SIXERS they would also need to shed some additional players to have a shot at Carmelo or LeBron. Note that both Tony Snell and Jimmy Butler - their SGs - shot under 30% from 3 point range last year. Still, those extra 2015 1st round picks are very enticing, so this move is worth some serious exploration.
The Rockets right now are in a better position to pursue Carmelo or LeBron - right now they are at only $50MM against the cap, and Jeremy Lin's 8.3MM cap hit for 2015 would get them down to $42MM - enabling them to have enough for at least a $20MM offer for one of the max free agents. Also, Parsons is now a RFA, but since they have not yet made him an offer he doesn't count against their cap at all at the moment, yet they can still make him an offer after signing one of their big targets. But the timing may get really tricky for them if someone goes in immediately with an offer to Parsons. Note the Rockets also have some decent extra assets available - their own 2015 1st and 2nd round picks, and extra 2015 2nd round picks from the Clippers, the Knicks, and the Timberwolves. Also note Jeremy Lin hit for 36% from 3 point range last year, and Parsons is also solid from deep.
To me the move is pretty straightforward - we make an offer for RFA agent Chandler Parsons at the earliest possible date, and also an offer for Lin and a couple of their picks, in exchange for JRich or Moultrie's contract and any other junk that we want to move.
Or we can just go sign some other FAs - Hayward, Stephenson, Bazemore, Caron Butler, Vince Carter, anyone who can jump in and start at the SG spot, and another veteran backup as well, and compete in 2014, and still have at worst 7 picks over the next two years, plus our stashed Euros and Embiid coming back.
Please pardon the long digression; so tell me now, just now valuable is our 2015 1st round pick, and how critical is it to our future plans. Is it really worth tanking the 2014-2015 season to save it?