With the acquisition of Andrew Bynum, the 76ers sent shockwaves through Philadelphia. Already having parted with Elton Brand, Louis Williams, and Jodie Meeks earlier in the offseason, the 76ers continued their overhaul of a team that was one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals last year.
With Andrew Bynum, who by most accounts is the second best center in the league, the 76ers have a potential superstar. A legitimate player to build around who, despite legitimate injury concerns, is only 24 and could be around for a long time. While it was tough to see Andre Iguodala go, the trade has been universally heralded as a great move, and deservedly so.
Now that the euphoria over the acquisition has subsided we can begin to examine how the team is shaping up, and what future flexibility the 76ers have going forward.
Before the acquisition of Bynum, 76ers coach Doug Collins appeared to be leaning towards starting Spencer Hawes at power forward next to Kwame Brown in the front court. Collins hasn't officially confirmed he still intends to start Hawes, but that appears to be the most likely scenario.
While Hawes has the offensive skill set to succeed next to Bynum his foot speed will be an issue when defending more perimeter oriented power forwards.
Other immediate options include Thaddeus Young and Lavoy Allen.
Allen would similarly struggle with foot speed, but has a solid outside touch that would fit in well with Bynum.
Young makes perhaps the most sense, although Collins has generally been reluctant to move Young out of his role as a spark off the bench. Unlike Hawes and Allen, Young has the foot speed to effectively defend pick and rolls, something the 76ers will need when paired with Bynum. Young's face-up game could fit in well with Bynum, as teams become hesitant to leave Bynum to provide weak side help, and Young's rebounding deficiencies are somewhat masked by Bynum's stellar rebounding, as Bynum averaged 11.8 rebounds per game last year.
Salary cap flexibility
The 2012-2013 salary cap amount has a floor set, guaranteeing a salary cap of at least $58.044 million. Starting in 2013-2014, this guarantee is dropped and most projections have the salary cap declining.
Even with a cap of $58 million, the 76ers will essentially be capped out should they decide to re-sign Andrew Bynum to the roughly 5 year, $100 million extension he can get next offseason.
With a first year salary of roughly $17.7 million for Bynum, as well as Jrue Holiday's cap hold of roughly $6.6 million, the 76ers will have around $59.4 million in financial commitments to 9 players. In essence, they would have their exceptions to work with.
(Holiday has a cap hold of $6.687 million, which will count against the 76ers cap until they either renounce his bird rights or sign him to a new contract. This figure is arrived at by taking the last year of his rookie deal and multiplying it by 250%).
If the 76ers want to be players in next years free agency, they'll need to move a combination of Thaddeus Young ($8.6 million), Spencer Hawes ($6.5 million), Evan Turner ($6.679 million), Jrue Holiday ($6.6 million cap hold), Lavoy Allen ($3 million), or Kwame Brown ($3 million).
The good news is that most of these contracts are short and movable.
Draft Pick status
The 76ers currently owe two future first round draft picks, one from their draft day acquisition of Arnett Moultrie and one from the Bynum trade.
The draft pick they traded to Miami for the rights to Arnett Moultrie is lottery protected through 2015. If the pick hasn't been dispensed at that point, the 76ers will owe Miami their 2015 and 2016 second round picks.
The draft pick they traded to Orlando as part of the trade to get Bynum can be dispensed 2 years after the pick to Miami is sent out. The pick is lottery protected in 2015 and 2016, top 11 protected in 2017, and top 8 protected in 2018. If the conditions are not met by 2018, then the 76ers will send Orlando a second round pick in 2018 and 2019.
Barring something unexpected, the 76ers will send Miami a non-lottery pick in 2013 and will send a non-lottery pick to Orlando in 2015.
What this means is:
- The 76ers will get little in the way of cheap reinforcements from the draft.
- Perhaps more importantly, the lack of trade-able draft picks in coming years will limit the trades the 76ers can make. The 76ers cannot trade a first round pick until 2017, unless they acquire a first from another team.