In a year where the economy is struggling mightily, the Mid-level exception has potential be a very valuable asset if used correctly. Players who would normally sign for double, maybe triple the amount of the 5-6 million dollar MLE are forced to sign a shorter contract, worth a lot less money.
Two perfect examples are C.J. Watson and Ramon Sessions. If this were 2005 or 2006 a young, talented point guard like Sessions would be signing a 5 year, 50 million dollar deal. This year, he'll probably sign for the MLE and nothing more.
The only downside to signing players like Sessions and Watson to the MLE is the probability that they only sign short-term deals, expecting a huge payday when the economy rebounds. Coincidentally, the Sixers are only looking for a one or two year stop-gap until Super Jrue is ready to take over.
General consensus is, the stop-gap should be savvy veteran (an old fart) in which Jrue can learn from, but who says the stop-gap has to be old and savvy? Why not young, a little less savvy, but proven?
Both Sessions and Watson fit the bill. Between the two, Watson would be my choice. He shoots the three to a tune of 40 percent, he has experience in a run and gun offense (Golden State), and he has a better chance of sticking around as a role player when Super Jrue takes over.
Now, offering either player the MLE does not guarantee anything. If I were a betting man, I would bet that both Watson and Sessions sign elsewhere, but there's nothing wrong with taking a chance. The Sixers literally have nothing to lose.
Brian from Depressed Fan shares the same opinion and actually opened my eyes to the C.J. Watson possibility.
CJ Watson would represent [a missed opportunity] to me if Orlando did, in fact, sign him to an offer sheet. The Sixers can top Orlando's offer, and they should. Force Golden State to make a tough decision, consider it your due diligence.
As for Sessions, Kevin Arnovitz provides a nice breakdown of 'The Best Free Agent Nobody is talking about'.
Sessions has the size and ability to guard both ones and twos, and has demonstrated the capacity to do so.