Both Bynum and Howard will be free-agents, but does Philly have a shot at either of them?
The pill might be hard to swallow, but the Philadelphia 76ers are getting a prescription for reinforcements not to come to the city this offseason.
Chances are strong that they'll pick up a number of veterans and lower-level players kind of like they did last year (Nick Young, Jason Richardson, etc.), but don't expect anybody of significant value to head Philly's way.
Let's take a look at a few of the reasons as to why reinforcements aren't coming to the Sixers this offseason.
Lack of Big-Time Players
The first and most basic of reasons is that there is a major lack of talent in this year's free-agent class.
Philadelphia was not one of them.
To think that the Sixers have any chance of getting him now is ridiculous. On top of that, reports came out earlier this week stating that Howard is expected to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the season.
Smith happens to be a different story.
There were a couple of reports that said Philadelphia was close to trading for Smith before the trade deadline. Thinking about that fact now, then referring back to how poorly the Sixers played from the deadline to the end of the season is almost painful.
Unfortunately, there aren't currently any talks about Smith having any particular interest in playing in Philly. Having hope of signing him would be justified if he had given some kind of indication that the Sixers were in the running, but he just hasn't.
Then of course, there's a third player in this year's free-agent class.
We're talking about the one and only Andrew Bynum.
What to do with the Bynosaur?
Philadelphia has two potential outcomes when it comes to their offseason plans with Bynum.
They either feel like he's worth the risk and attempt to re-sign him to some kind of deal, or they come to the conclusion that he's not worth putting up with, ultimately resulting in letting him walk.
The second option is pretty self-explanatory. The Sixers made a big investment by trading for the 7'1" center. He had injury problems in his past; however, he played the majority of the 2011-12 season injury-free so he was clearly trending up as far as that field goes.
The decision was made and excitement ensued.
Boy did that excitement last long. Setback after setback after setback (and yes, I could put about 11 more setbacks in this sentence) caused Bynum to never see the court. Consequently, all of the anticipation was suddenly taken out of everybody and it felt like Philadelphia made one of the worst trades in Sixers history.
Still, a seven-footer is one of the most valued commodity's in the NBA as they are so hard to come by. Philly could believe that he's worth the risk and attempt to re-sign him after the playoffs end.
They'll have to deal with the obvious set of concerns—like will he ever play again—but it just might be the kind of move that turns the Sixers from the punchline of a trade joke to the actual joke-teller.
Attempting to re-sign Bynum does come with two roadblocks, though: Other teams will have the opportunity at signing him, and the other is of course Andrew Bynum.
His contract was worth about $16.9 million this year, and his inability to play at all should mean that Philadelphia will be able to offer him significantly less money and be able to save themselves cap space. The problem with this strategy is that some other team could feel stronger about taking the chance on him and offer him some kind of scary contract.
Will the Sixers believe that he's really worth the kind of money that another team might be willing to offer after what took place this year? That's what the organization will have to answer.
Believe it or not, but there is some good news for Philadelphia if they do choose to get into a bidding war for Bynum.
The 2012-13 NBA salary cap was set at $58.04 million. Next year's cap won't be set until July, but it tends to increase by a small amount each year. Hoopsworld.com believes that $60 million is a reasonable guess for next season.
This is all good news because Philly's total salaries will be worth $41 million to $46 million when we get to the offseason. Being that far under the cap gives the Sixers quite a bit of spending money for Bynum.
Again, though, that's only if they want to go on another adventure and put up with more hairstyles.
Don't Expect a Trade
Will the Sixers get a big-name reinforcement this offseason?
After last offseason's trade debacle, it's not realistic to see Philadelphia pulling the trigger on a trade that would bring in a big-time player unless there's no chance of it going any way but well.
Guarantees like that don't exist in this league.
Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young are trade pieces to some, but others feel like they are or could be franchise pieces. If Philly gets involved in a blockbuster-deal, then expect one of these two to be a part of it.
It just doesn't feel like they'd go down this route, though, after being burned in the worst possible way by the Bynum trade.
They'll most likely see this as a chance to take the offseason off from making any big trades.