For years, NBA fans have been hearing about the summer of 2010. It would be the summer of superstars, drama and a chance for your team to start anew. Well, there were certainly stars, drama and The Decision, but unless you’re rooting for Miami, your team did little to improve this summer.
The Sixers, unlike teams like the Knicks and Nets, didn’t plan around making a bid for basketball’s best talents. We knew The King wasn’t going to announce: “I’m taking my talents to South Philly to play for the 76ers.” No, the Sixers weren’t in contention for big name free agents because of the mismanagement that has controlled the team over the last few years from Billy King to Ed Stefanski.
Well, I guess it could be worse. You could be the Nets. They didn’t land any impact free agents and felt their best option was to hire Billy King to run the show for their new Russian-billionaire owner. As Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy, tweeted:
How do you say, “Any time you can turn your NBA team over to the guy who destroyed the 76ers, you gotta do it” in Russian?
The Sixers got lucky in the lottery to land the No. 2 overall pick, but Evan Turner is not the answer (at least not immediately). Just take a look at the salary obligations the Sixers have for this season. Elton Brand is being paid nearly $16 million and Andre Iguodala is due $12.3 million. When your third highest paid player is Andres Nocioni ($6.85 million) and you are over the salary cap, things are not good.
It truly is alarming that this team manages to be $10 million OVER the NBA salary cap with a roster made up mainly of players that managed only 27 wins last year.
While the Sixers were able to lure their former No. 1 pick, Doug Collins, to come back to Philadelphia to coach the young team, the Sixers will continue to struggle in the free agency game.
If the salary cap for the 2011-2012 season remains the same ($58 million), the Sixers will have about $10 million to spend next offseason. There will be big names in free agency like Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, but don’t expect them to come to Philly for three reasons.
1) Philadelphia hasn’t been a relevant NBA city since the prime of Allen Iverson’s career.
2) There are no stars to join. With the trend of building super teams (Boston’s Big Three, The Miami Thrice), the Sixers won’t have any superstars to offer to play aside future free agents.
3) Despite having some money to spend next year, they won’t have the most money.
The best chance for the Sixers to leave the basement of the NBA is to develop their young core: Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young. If Collins is around for a few years, and the young players develop, the Sixers could find themselves on the verge of competing in the Eastern Conference.
People often criticize Ed Snider for caring about the Flyers and neglecting the Sixers. While he may prefer the Orange and Black, he has certainly showed a willingness to spend money on the Sixers. The Sixers have even shown willingness to spend above the salary cap and pay the NBA’s luxury tax. The problem isn’t Snider’s lack of interest in the team. He just hasn’t been able to hire the right people to dish out the dough.