Philadelphia 76ers: What Sixers Must Do to Contend in Eastern Conference
The Sixers are coming off a surprising season in which they came within one game of the Eastern Conference finals.
Unfortunately, though, it would take a miracle for Philly to duplicate that type of success next year holding on to their current roster.
Draft Jared Sullinger
The 2012 NBA draft is supposed to be one of the deepest in recent memory. Although the Sixers don't have a top-five pick, they do own No. 15, which they can use on a quality player like Ohio State's Jared Sullinger.
Sullinger has been medically red-flagged because of back problems, but the Sixers should simply overlook that. Back in 2009, DeJuan Blair was also red flagged, but he turned out to be okay, right?
Sullinger is an exceptional low-post scorer and rebounder. The 6'9" power forward averaged 17.6 and 9.3 rebounds as a sophomore.
Amnesty Elton Brand
Elton Brand will make a ridiculous $18 million next season. That's a lot of dough for a guy who produced just 11 points and seven rebounds this past regular season as well as 8.6 points and 4.8 rebounds in the playoffs.
The Sixers made a huge mistake by signing Brand to a five-year, $82 million deal back in 2008. Now the team should use the amnesty clause on him, which would free up money to sign a big-name free agent.
Trade Andre Iguodala for Pau Gasol
Iguodala was an All-Star this year for the first in his career. The former University of Arizona star is an excellent defender and the Sixers’ best all-around player. However, it would be wise for Philly to deal him for a much-needed big man.
And that big man should be Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers. Gasol, a four-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion, obviously has postseason experience, is a great passer and can give you 17 points and 10 boards a night.
With that said, he would be the perfect addition to the Sixers lineup.
Say goodbye to Lou Williams and Spencer Hawes
Williams decided to opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent (h/t Dei Lynam, csnphilly.com). The NBA Sixth Man of the Year candidate led the Sixers in scoring this year with 14.9 points per game, despite not starting a single game.
A reserve for the majority of his seven-year career, Williams could get a huge offer from a team promising him a starting spot.
The Sixers should just let him walk and spend money on another free agent.
Hawes is another unrestricted free agent who Philadelphia should not try to re-sign. The seven-footer started this past season off great, but then fell off dramatically after an injury.
Philly would save cap space by not bringing Hawes back and letting him take his talents elsewhere.
Sign Eric Gordon
Gordon is a restricted free agent, meaning the New Orleans Hornets can match any offer that the talented shooting guard receives.
If the Sixers free up enough cap space, they could come up with an offer for Gordon that the Hornets wouldn’t want to match.
Gordon appeared in only nine games this past season due to injury, which means the Sixers would be taking a bit of risk by signing him. However, if he shakes off the injury bug, the 23-year-old could emerge as a 25-point-per-game scorer and form a nice backcourt with Jrue Holiday.
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