Assessing The Salary Cap For The 76ers

The Sixers won't be in a position to go after the Lebrons, Wades, Boshs... but that doesn't mean there aren't moves that can be made.

One of the great things that the NBA has that the NFL and MLB lack is an easy-to-understand Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).  The NBA’s CBA allows fans to understand things such as player’s contracts and salary cap in laymen’s terms.  Unlike those other leagues, the NBA also has a rookie pay scale which dictates (and limits) how much the incoming class will make over their first 4 years in the league.  Because of that, we can estimate how much #2 pick Evan Turner will make in the 2010-2011 season which also helps us project the salary breakdown for the 76ers for the upcoming season.

 

Last 5 Number Two Draft Picks Salaries

Year

Name

Salary

% increase

2006-07

LaMarcus Aldridge

4,027,320

2007-08

Kevin Durant

4,171,200

1.036

2008-09

Michael Beasley

4,314,960

1.034

2009-10

Hasheem Thabeet

4,458,840

1.033

2010-11

Evan Turner

*4,602,400

*1.032

*Estimated

Barring any trades, these guys will be on the team come this fall as all of their contracts are guaranteed for the season: Brand, Iguodala, Turner, Williams, Holliday, Nocioni, Meeks.  Willie Green and Jason Kapono both had player options in their deals which would have allowed them to either extend the contract another season or cancel the last year and become free agents.  However, both players said they will not opt out and will return (albeit they said this before the Sixers grabbed the #2 pick).  Kapono fills a need for shooting so he has some value but Green may be bought out of his contract due to the presence of Turner and the team’s high hopes for Jodie Meeks.  The following players have team options: Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young, Marreese Speights, and Jason Smith; but not all will be back.  Hawes obviously will as he was just traded for and Young is still that (22 years old) and hasn’t reached his potential yet.  That leaves the two back-up bigs and with Smith’s injury history and lack of production, it’s highly unlikely the team will pick up his $2.2 million option.  So if we take away Green and Smith, this is how the depth chart currently looks:

 

 

PG

Holliday

Williams

SG

Turner

Kapono

Meeks

SF

Iguodala

Young

PF

Brand

Nocioni

C

Hawes

Speights

 

The starting PG, SG, and SF are all solid and Doug Collins has the ability to go small with Young and Brand up front or big with Brand and Hawes.  The bench is OK but there are two glaring needs: a true PG and a defensive center.  With the Sixers over the salary cap, they can’t go out and get a big name but they can utilize the Mid-Level Exception (around $5.8 million) on a player or split it among multiple players.  Lou Williams is a solid combo guard but everyone knows he’s not a true point and is best used at off guard.  Here are a couple of free agent options for a backup point guard with their ages and 09-10 stats:

  • Jason Williams (35, 6.0 ppg, 3.6 apg)
  • Steve Blake (30, 7.3 ppg, 4.8 apg)
  • Chris Duhon (28, 7.4 ppg, 5.6 apg)

Not exactly LeBron, Wade, and Bosh but these guys know their roles within a team and would make for excellent backups.  Each player has starting experience and could fill in admirably if something were to happen to Holliday and not one of them would command the full MLE.  As for a backup center, the team clearly needs size and length as Hawes is the only player on the roster taller than 6’10”.  The options are even less glamorous than at PG with the likes of Nazr Mohammad, Rasho Nesterovic, and the Collins twins available. Not the sexiest of names but any of the players would be useful as an extra set of fouls on the likes of Dwight Howard.

The proposed moves above would bring the roster size to the league-minimum of 13 players.  From there the team could hopefully find two more players on its summer league team that they could then add to the regular roster.  Those two, along with Jodie Meeks, would then get significant playing time for the Springfield Armor, the 76ers’ D-league team.  Here is how I envision the depth chart come opening night:

PG

Holliday

Duhon

Green*

SG

Turner

Williams

Meeks

SF

Iguodala

Young

Kapono

PF

Brand

Nocioni

Love*

C

Hawes

Speights

Collins

*Mike Green and Jason Love are on 76ers’ Summer League Roster

 

Call me biased, but on paper this looks like a solid crew and a definite playoff team.  We have the ability to go small or big depending on the other team and with Doug Collins as coach, you know the Sixers are going to be a strong defensive unit.  If Elton Brand can be the Brand of old instead of just an old Brand, then don’t be surprised to see this team advance past the first round for the first time since 2003.

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