It's not our money, and it's not our team. It's just our mind that we're losing, when it comes to the Philadelphia 76ers.
It's easy to ridicule this club in a vacuum, in the sucked-out wake of the report from Adrian Wojnarowski that the Sixers were going to sign Kwame Brown to a two-year deal worth $6 million overall, and with a player option for the second year. That's right, Kwame Brown has earned a player option that he can sign off on next summer, some 12 years after being drafted first overall in the 2001 NBA draft. The truth behind this is that Kwame is actually a pretty capable center considering his role as an eighth or ninth man, and $3 million isn't all that bad.
What's bad is this comes amidst news that the 76ers have used the amnesty provision on Elton Brand, who was due to make over $18 million in 2012-13 but also due to play some very good basketball that particular year. And, amongst word that coach Doug Collins is looking to find a center to move Spencer Hawes down to power forward, a position he didn't play a single second at last year while at times even looking too slow for the center position. And, amongst word that Lou Williams has moved on to Atlanta for a reasonable contract the 76ers could have easily come up with. Also, let's remind you of the word "signed" as in "the 76ers just signed Kwame Brown."
If the discussions about a "center" moving Hawes down to power forward are correct, this means the 76ers wouldn't be treating Kwame as an eighth or ninth man, and rather a starter next to Hawes. This is not a frontcourt to be fearful of, and any talk about Brown as a sort of rim protector in Philadelphia has to be responded to with the fact that Brown didn't reject a single shot in 187 minutes of play with the Golden State Warriors last year.
Do you know what Elton Brand did last year? The "undersized" and "limited, in his return from an Achilles tear"-Elton Brand? He managed a block rate of 4.2 percent, about twice the percentage of possession ended in a rejection that Brown managed in his last healthy year in 2010-11. Seems like a better rim protector, now? Of course, Elton was going to make six times what Kwame earns in 2012-13, so perhaps you can see why the 76ers decided to dump Brand.
Except they still have to pay him. Most of Brand's salary, actually, depending on how much Elton's next team signs him for. It could be for around the amount of money Kwame just signed in Philly for. Which begs the question — with no significant additions coming down the pike with that newfound salary cap space, and the team on the hook for Brand's salary anyway, why not just keep Elton Brand for the final year of his deal?
If 2012-13 was just going to be a year in flux, and the entire point of dumping a player via the amnesty clause is to save your salary cap some space, what is the point of essentially dumping Brand for Brown considering that Elton is still going to be taking in eight figures worth of paychecks from Philadelphia anyway? It's true that even after re-signing Hawes and Lavoy Allen to reasonable deals and bringing in Kwame the 76ers are still significantly under the cap, but who is left to reel in with that space? C.J. Watson? O.J. Mayo? I.P. Freely? Gross, Kelly.
The 76ers could still wheel and deal, pulling in an already-signed star or using that space to facilitate another deal that could lend them future picks. It could help the team finally move Andre Iguodala. The offseason is technically only two days old, with deals not legally allowed to be swung until July 11, so it isn't as if the 76ers are up against the clock.
They're just up against a league that seems to be passing it by. We honestly would have no issues with the Sixers just attempting to hold serve in 2012-13, understanding that the team's mix of salaries and status in the NBA meant that they weren't going to be able to make many moves, and just bringing the gang back for one more hopeful attempt at the playoffs. All this, though, seems like a waste.
Especially when you consider that they're paying Brand anyway. It's not our money, or our team; but we do feel for Sixers fans that will spend their money on this team next season.
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