A 5-Step Offseason Plan for the Philadelphia 76ers to Continue Rebuilding

Casey CrailCorrespondent IJune 1, 2011

A 5-Step Offseason Plan for the Philadelphia 76ers to Continue Rebuilding

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 21: Lou Williams #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts after scoring against the Miami Heat during the first half of game three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Wells Fargo Center on April 21, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsy
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    After a season that ended in the opening round of the playoffs, the 76ers">Philadelphia 76ers are looking at a key offseason.

    The list of needs includes a physical rebounder, a consistent scoring guard, a shot blocker and a true backup point guard.

    With a relatively weak draft class as well as free-agency class, the Sixers are doubtful to land the superstar Philly fans have craved since the departure of Allen Iverson.

    However, the Sixers can land a key player who could push them over the hump into a 50-game regular season winner, as well as making it past the first round of the playoffs.

    The following article presents a blueprint that could perhaps push this 41-41 team into contenders.

Step 1: Re-Sign Restricted Free Agent Spencer Hawes

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 28: Spencer Hawes #00 of the Philadelphia 76ers dunks the ball against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 28, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or usin
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Spencer Hawes was brought in after Samuel Dalembert's terrible contract was finally moved.

    Hawes did not play as many minutes as the average starting center because Doug Collins appeared to favor the small lineup with Elton Brand at center.

    Hawes showed potential, but if brought back should not start.

    The playoffs exposed Hawes as an offensive-minded player with no physicality or interest to box out his matchup.

    Also, the "00" really needs to go.

    If retained, Hawes should still be an important role player in the rotation, but would not start, allowing him to be more versatile and perhaps getting some time as a power forward.

Step 2: Re-Sign Thaddeus Young

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27:  Thaddeus Young #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives past Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat during game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on April 27, 2011 in Miami, Florid
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Thaddeus Young had an impressive season finishing in the top five for the Sixth Man of the Year Award.

    In a league that is so dependent on depth, finding key bench players like Young is key. So the market may be somewhat large for Young's services.

    However, many expect Young to re-sign in Philly so any free-agency mumblings that surface about his name should not be taken too seriously.

    Young was a huge contributor and played a large role in the Sixers strong second half of the season, and he will be a vital piece to the rebuilding.

Step 3: Draft Donatas Motiejunas

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    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 08:  Donatas Motiejunas of Lithuania tries to get past Gordon Hayward of the United States defends during the U19 Basketball World Championships match between the United States and Lithuania at North Shore Events Centre on Jul
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    If available, the Sixers should select Lithuanian prospect Donatas Motiejunas.

    Barring a better prospect who falls such as Tristan Thompson, Motiejunas could be a key to the future of the Sixers.

    Motiejunas stands at seven feet tall, but by no means is the dominate rebounder the team currently lacks.

    Instead, an offensive skill set with a nice inside-outside shooting combination that would be valuable to any team.

    Elton Brand's mammoth contract is set to expire in 2013. Even if he is brought back at a discount, his skills and athleticism are inevitably going to decline.

    Motiejunas has the potential to be a great finesse forward who can shoot from anywhere in the offensive zone.

Step 4: Trade Andre Iguodala for Monta Ellis

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    BOSTON, MA - MARCH 04:  Monta Ellis #8 of the Golden State Warriors takes a shot over Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics on March 4, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Celtics defeated the Warriors 107-103. NOTE TO USER: User expressl
    Elsa/Getty Images

    It seems apparent that Andre Iguodala will finally be traded.

    After a great regular season, it appeared Iggy finally learned his role. Play defense, and play less selfishly.

    However, as soon as the playoffs came around, it seemed almost as if Iggy decided he had to put the team on his back with a terrible shot selection especially in crunch time.

    Monta Ellis, too, had teamwork issues, but also played more team oriented and accepted Steph Curry's role as the new face of the team.

    However, the recent hiring of Jerry West could impact Ellis' status on the team.

    If West feels the team would be better off with a perimeter defender like Iguodala at the 2-guard position, they may make this trade.

    Both teams would benefit greatly from this deal.

    Philly gets the first since Iverson to average over 20 points per contest, while allowing Evan Turner's role to expand in his sophomore season.

    Golden State gets a legitimate defender they greatly need, and diminish any remaining conflict between Ellis and Curry.

    Also, Philly would shed about $1 million in payroll for next season which gives them more flexibility in free agency.

Step 5: Sign Marc Gasol

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 27:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antionio Spurs battles for a rebound against Shane Battier #31 and Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 20
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    This will be the hardest transaction to pull off as Memphis will make a hard push to re-sign Marc Gasol.

    However, payroll will factor with Mike Conley and Zack Randolph's recent extensions, and Memphis may ultimately be forced to let Gasol walk.

    Gasol would be a perfect fit for the Sixers.

    A physical rebounder who can score off second-chance buckets would allow Elton Brand to play his soft style of play.

    Also, in the future if the Sixers were to bring in both Motiejunas and Gasol, they would have an excellent finesse-physical combination down low.

    It will not be easy, and a trade to relieve more cap room could be made to make this signing work, but in Gasol Philly gets the exact player they need to make it over the hump.

Wrap Up

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27:  Elton Brand #42 of the Philadelphia 76ers walks off the floor after fouling out during game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on April 27, 2011 in
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    This would be about as ideal an offseason that Sixers fans could hope for, other than making a trade for Dwight Howard.

    The aging Iguodala drama could finally be diminished for a cheaper player who would fit a rather large need.

    Thaddeus Young may be the top priority this offseason as the sixth man was key to the relative success of the season.

    Signing Marc Gasol would bring an actually physical big man, while Spencer Hawes could be brought  back (hopefully with a new number) to provide depth.

     

     

2011-2012 Projected Starters and Key Bench Players

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 21: Elton Brand #42 of the Philadelphia 76ers talks with teammates Jrue Holiday #11 (L) and Lou Williams #23 (R)  during the closing moments of their game against the Miami Heat during game three of the Eastern Conference Quarterf
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Point Guard: Jrue Holliday

    Shooting Guard: Monta Ellis

    Small Forward: Evan Turner

    Power Forward: Elton Brand

    Center: Marc Gasol

    Bench: Thaddeus Young, Lou Williams, Spencer Hawes, Jodie Meeks, Donatas Motiejunas

    This lineup could be tweaked by Doug Collins' preferences, but this seems like the most logical lineup under these transactions.

    Jrue Holliday will likely continue to progress and realistically has a chance of being an All-Star in the 2011-2012 season.

    Monta Ellis should be a consistent scorer, and hopefully will not have any conflict with Holliday.

    Evan Turner could be starting at the wing, and this would allow Philly to play the fast-paced offense they have become accustomed to over the last few seasons.

    Elton Brand should hopefully continue to play at a higher rate then his first two seasons and build on last year's strong one.

    Marc Gasol should be an immediate impact starter and Brand should benefit from having another true rebounder.