The Philadelphia 76ers made it abundantly clear on draft night that they are pressing the reset button on their roster. After making a big splash during the draft by acquiring Nerlens Noel for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, the team is on pace to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference next season.
However, that may be exactly what they want to have happen.
Amid speculation from writers such as Joe Santoliquito of CBS that the team may be going into full tank-mode in order to try and land Andrew Wiggins in next year's draft, new general manager Sam Hinkie has been fairly quiet since free agency began.
Meanwhile, free agents have been flying off the board.
So far, the Sixers have stood pat. However, there’s still been a good deal of speculation regarding their free agency plans and what effect those plans will have on them next season.
The 76ers Will Acquire Veterans
Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs.com has speculated that Hinkie is likely to add a veteran or two to the roster during free agency.
Currently, the longest-tenured players on the roster are Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young. The rest of the team is fairly new. Although there haven’t been any particular players linked to the club as of yet, the team still needs to fill out its roster before next season.
According to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, Andrew Bynum is unlikely to return to the team, as is Dorell Wright, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears. If neither of those players returns, the team will have several holes to fill.
Among those who remain on the roster, Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Young and perhaps Evan Turner figure to get the lion’s share of minutes.
While that is a very young team, it’s not a bad nucleus to start a rebuild with. The priority now should be to add veterans to mentor the youth and keep them focused.
Currently, there hasn’t been much of a link between free agents and the 76ers. However, if the team is looking for veterans who want playing time and a pay-check, these players could fit nicely:
- Point Guard: Will Bynum-could mentor Carter-Williams.
- Shooting Guard: Alan Anderson-can help the team put some quick points on the board.
- Power Forward/Center: J.J Hickson-is only 24 years old, and had a breakout season last year.
Buying Out Kwame Brown’s Contract
Moore has also speculated that Hinkie is likely to arrange a buy-out of center Kwame Brown. On June 28, Ken Berger of cbssports.com reported that Brown exercised his $2.95 million Player Option, keeping him a 76er. He was fairly invisible last season, receiving 52 DNP-Coaches Decision from former head coach Doug Collins, according to rotoworld.com.
If nothing else, Brown could have provided a big body to play some defense while Noel recovers from his torn-ACL. However, it’s probably best if he’s just sent packing.
Retaining Andrew Bynum
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, it doesn’t look like the 76ers plan to keep Bynum. Once considered a franchise big-man with possibly more offensive potential than Dwight Howard, Bynum’s stock has taken a dramatic fall.
It’s fair enough considering he played in exactly none of the 76ers’ 82 games this year.
However, Bynum is still an unrestricted free agent who can sign with any team that wants him. According to Tim MacMahon, the Dallas Mavericks are one such team who are interested in him if their pursuit of Howard falls short.
While the latest buzz has been that the Sixers might be doing everything in their power to lose as many games as possible next season, they don’t want to engage in a complete meltdown.
Wisely, Hinkie has decided to preach patience.
This team will undoubtedly be bad, but they won’t be 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats bad. So far, the noise has been fairly quiet, but that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. The 76ers have built a good core to rebuild with, but they still need to fill out their roster in order to put a somewhat-decent product out on the floor.
If they want to rebuild correctly, those roster spots should go to veterans who can provide guidance to the team’s young players, as well as give the fans something to cheer for during what is sure to be a rough season.