The 2014 off-season thus far has already brought us a controversial draft and the waiving of our beloved James Anderson. And this was all before free agency. The Sixers, under HInkie, have been about as active as any team in the league. They have maneuvered any which way to snag an extra pick, relinquishing cap space and actual NBA players in favor of future assets and more current losses. And today, the Sixers sit on approximately $31 million in cap space, with few marquee free agents in sight (Avery Bradley!) and a roster expected to tank again next season. With this cap space, it is presumed that Hinkie will look to give up that cap space for picks. But there is another perk to this, which is acquiring veteran payers to help the young guys grow and make the team semi-watchable. With that being said, let's take a look at some possible targets from other teams that the Sixers could acquire using their cap space.
Carlos Boozer, Gerald Wallace, Brandon Bass, Keith Bogans, Joel Anthony, Jarrett Jack, Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings (GOD NOOOOO), Any non-rookie contract Milwaukee Buck (Sorry Bucks.), Luis Scola, Martell Webster, Steve Nash, Tayshaun Prince, Jeremy Lin, Donatas Montiejunas , Jared Dudley, Raymond Felton, Kendrick Perkins, Randy Foye, J.J. Hickson, Javale McGee, Darrell Arthur, Nate Robinson, Jeff Green, Gary Neal, Ian Mahinmi, Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger, Corey Brewer, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams, Jason Terry, Travis Outlaw, Chuck Hayes, Landry Fields, Steve Novak, Marcus Camby and Tyler Hansbrough are all players on teams that would like to make some moves in free agency, and whose contracts being moved would help said teams make said moves. A few favorites from this crop include Boozer, Dudley, Prince, Lin/Montiejunas, Perkins and maybe Thompson (these names are from rumors and things I've heard throughout twitter.)
The Sixers can obviously not take back more than a few of these contracts, depending on which players they take back. Some of these players have actual trade value, which already rules the Sixers out as possible suitors. Others are on multi-year deals that may be too clogging for Hinkie to take in. Others are only one-year deals a team may not mind swallowing for one more season. The problems with this strategy this year are a) half the league has a ton of cap space. And while the Sixers have more than just about anyone, there is still competition. This means that they may not be able to get back the first-rounders they want in exchange for an expiring contract, if another team is willing to settle on two second-rounders as compensation. b) Teams don't really want to get rid of players unless they absolutely have to, especially in the case of an expiring. If the Bulls can't land any marquee free agents, they really have no reason to trade Carlos Boozer. He's an expiring contract that they'll either have to amnesty and pay anyway or give up assets to deal away. This isn't just the case in Chicago, but in all other scenarios as well. c) If a team has a contract that is long and awful, see Kevin Martin or Javale McGee, then no team is going to want that deal, no matter the compensation. Both of those deals have three years left at terrible numbers. This market is not as easy to toil in as some may think. Teams aren't exactly waiting in line to throw first rounders to teams with cap space in order to pursue a max player. So unless some star players begin changing teams, which is beginning to look less and less likely, then the prospect of getting picks for cap space isn't as endearing as one may think.
So let's look at other avenues through which Sammy can use his cap space. I think Hinkie realizes that a) the fans are reluctantly on board, but another year of 20-win basektball is dangerous and b) Defense-minded veterans to help these young guys out wouldn't be a bad thing. Guys like Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, Ray Allen, P.J. Tucker and Patty Mills are out there, and the Sixers can overpay on one-year deals to bring these guys in. As fun as it is to see these young guys play, it's imperative that they don't develop bad habits, and as much faith as I have in the coaching staff, sometimes you need a respected teammate to come in and set you straight.
In the end, I think Hinkie could add a couple vets, probably going to add a bunch of young, unproven guys, and probably even take back a contract or two when it's all said and done. The Sixers will probably still be scraping the salary floor and looking to deal Thad at the deadline, which is probably the right move. As far the their cap situation goes, not many teams are envied as much as the Sixers, as they have only rookie contracts on their books after this upcoming season (If Thad Young opts out/gets moved.)