The Philadelphia 76ers are on the verge of basketball purgatory.
They are in the midst of trying to rebuild while not actually trying to rebuild. They have a lot of good pieces, but some really bad contracts.
The Sixers have for the most part chosen to go against the grain and rebuild the old-fashioned way: Sign a high-priced free agent that doesn’t pan out, make the playoffs once, draft badly, miss the playoffs, get the second pick, draft badly and then overachieve in a bad conference and make the playoffs again.
Elton Brand is virtually untradeable. He’s got an untouchable contract and he can’t seem to stay on the court long enough to earn that contract. Well, he could play his best 48 minutes a night and the contract would still be a stretch.
The Sixers need to make a deal that will get them a lot in return for the future, put them back in the lottery and allow them to start accumulating enough assets to be big players in the very near future.
There isn’t much really desirable on the Sixers roster, just lot of pieces that will net another team a serviceable player, but nothing that would allow the Sixers to get a late draft pick and a player that could be a little bit worse than they just got rid of.
The Sixers are going to need a team that is on the cusp and could use that one solid defensive player and scoring complement to their established star.
Andre Iguodala is the one tradeable piece that Sixers can easily unload AND pick up another first-round draft pick and a couple expiring deals to give them a little cap space.
One trade worth giving a run would be sending Iggy and Jason Kapono to OKC for the expiring contracts of Nenad Krstic, Mo Peterson and James Harden as men that could take over at 2-guard, and then see if they could pry a first-round pick out of Sam Presti.
This gives OKC a lockdown defender on defense that allows them to spread the floor better and not have to play four-on-five on offense.
This move would save Philadelphia roughly $16 million in cap space following the 2011 season and allows Harden to get a lot more playing time. Harden could work out there or he may not, but if he didn’t, Philadelphia could make a run at 2-guard in the future via free agency. Philly should sign him to a short deal that is incentive-based.
Philadelphia needs to avoid moving to fast. It’s gotten them into this mess, after all.
Another deal I would look into is with Portland. It would involve just sending Iguodala to Portland for the expiring contract of Greg Oden and Andre Miller. Of course, a first-round draft pick would have to be thrown in.
Depending on what happens with Brandon Roy, this could be a nice stopgap for Portland until he gets back or has to sit out for a while. This move gives Portland a scorer and a defender on the perimeter. Once Roy gets back, he’d play the point, with Iguodala at the 2.
That sounds like a solid backcourt to me.
This move also saves Philadelphia roughly $14 million a year as Miller has a team option for next season. It would be a win-win for both teams and Portland is right around basketball purgatory with their would-be pick.
Adding Iguodala could be the piece that Portland has been missing and helps them get over the hump. Their window is closing faster than anyone predicted—that’s what happens your best players suffer freak injuries.
There is one more money-saving and high-draft pick potential trade I would look at and that would be in the Sixers' own conference and make this team scary good, potentially.
The Sixers would send Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young to the Indiana Pacers for the expiring deals for of Jeff Foster and Mike Dunleavy along with a first-round draft pick.
This gives Danny Granger a scorer that can complement him and just about fill out the roster. Young would also set down the power forward spot for the rest of the year and could be fairly easy to re-sign in the office season.
According to the ESPN Trade Machine, this would give Indiana 10 more wins over the course of the season. If they had that 10-game swing over the course of the season, they would be a 46-win team. That would be a big step for them and if they can re-resurrect the corpse of Roy Hibbert, it would equate out to solid fried gold.
They would be possibly looking at a competitive team year in and year out in the Eastern Conference.
It’s something the Pacers should look at doing.
While back in Philadelphia, it saves the Sixers just a touch more than $17 million in cap space and another first-round draft pick.
Hopefully, they don’t end up selecting another Evan Turner.
He could pan out, Philadelphia. He could.