With 76ers General Manager Ed Stefanski heading into his first off-season as team general manager, he is excited about the $11 million that he has to work with.
This offseason's class of free agents have an array of talent at all positions. The 76ers true need is at Power Forward. They are solid at every other position. Andre Miller is an established point guard who was arguably the best player for the team last year. At shooting guard, Willie Green. Green is unestablished but still a solid starter. At small forward, they have Andre Iguodala. Iguodala has become a household name in Philly and across the NBA. The starting power forward varies with who their opponent is. It is always either Reggie Evans or rising second year player, Thaddeus Young. Thad is a good, athletic, young big man with lots of potential but still not ready to be a starter. Reggie Evans is a bench player and should be sixth man. He is a spark plug player with energy. Finally, Samuel Dalembert is an established veteran starter with lots of athleticism.
The only position the the 76ers are truly weak at is power forward. Again, Thaddeus is not quite ready to be a starter and Reggie Evans is a true bench player. So, who is out there to help Philadelphia at power forward?
Josh Smith, ATL, Restricted FA
Josh Smith is not the back-to-the-basket esque player that the Philadelphia 76ers need. The good thing about him is that he is the young (22), big (6'9", 235) , athletic forward that they need. With the 76ers running and gunning at the end of the season, Smith would be a perfect fit. Smith is also a player who will fill the stat sheet with 17.2 ppg and 8.2 rpg last season.
Elton Brand, LAC, Unrestricted FA
29 year old Elton Brand is coming off of a season in which he missed all but the final eight games with Achilles surgery. Brand is a proven low post scorer even back to his days at Duke. Brand has averaged a double-double for his career, 20.3 ppg and 10.2 rpg.
If Stefanski were to sign Brand to a big, long contract, he would be a great asset to the development of 76ers first round draft pick, Marreese Speights. Speights is a player very similar to Brand. He is a big bodied power forward who can play back-to-the-basket. The only thing that Speights has that Brand doesn't is the ability to run the break. Brand, if signed, would be able to teach Speights the ways of an NBA power forward.
Andris Biedrins, GS, Restricted FA
Andris Biedrins had been rumored back in 2004 to have been on the 76ers radar at draft time. The huge factor was the Philadelphia didn't want an unknown foreign big man. Biedrins isn't the star that the fans or the media in Philly want, but he's coming off of the best season of his four year career averaging 10.5 ppg and 9.8 rpg. Biedrins would add the big man help needed being 6'11" and 230 lbs.
Emeka Okafor, CHA, Restricted FA
There's many things to this 25 year old's game that wouldn't be so endearing to 76ers fans. To quote Comcast Sportsnet's John Clayton, "First, he wouldn’t seem to fit in the Sixers’ run-and-gun style, functioning better in a half-court set. Second, he’s not a great low-post scorer (14.3 points per game in four NBA seasons), something Stefanski seems to covet." Okafor was a #2 overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft expecting to be a huge player in the NBA. Much to most Charlotte Bobcat fans dismay, Okafor fell off the face of the NBA map.
The 76ers free agents this off season include Louis Amundson (Restricted FA), Herbert Hill (Restricted FA), Andre Iguodala (Restricted FA), Shavlik Randolph (Restricted FA), Louis Williams (Restricted FA), and Kevin Ollie (Unrestricted FA).
They will most likely resign Iguodala, Williams, and Hill. Iguodala and Williams are backbones to the team. Iguodala is one of the best players on the team and Williams is a back-up point guard who can play shooting guard at times with Miller playing point. Herbert Hill will develop into a solid power forward or even a center given time. He is 6'10" and 240 lbs. There will be a fight for starting power forward in the near future if it is not addressed soon.
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