Lost amidst the flurry of excitement surrounding Game 7 of the NBA Finals Thursday, the Philadelphia 76ers quietly made a move that could shape the framework of next week’s NBA Draft.
The Sixers dealt disgruntled center Samuel Dalembert to the Kings in exchange for Andres Nocioni and Spencer Hawes.
The deal was more than just an attempt to ship an unhappy player to a basketball wilderness. It provided foreshadowing that the Sixers are thinking big, and possibly looking at selecting Derrick Favors over Evan Turner.
A glance at Philadelphia’s roster reveals an abundance of bad contracts and athletic perimeter players. The team only has three true post players on the roster heading into next season.
The Sixers were apparently listening to offers to swap first-round picks, including one from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Any potential deal would have included Elton Brand, who has $51 million dollars remaining on what is now the worst contract in the NBA thanks to Brian Cardinal’s impending free agency.
Thanks, but no thanks.
After failing to move Brand, Dalembert was the next best option. He requested a trade last season after being unhappy with his role in the team’s offense.
The trade isn’t a cost-cutting move. In fact, the Sixers are actually taking on more salary in the deal.
Dalembert will make a whopping $12.2 million next season in the final year of his contract. Nocioni has over $13 million remaining on his deal over the next two years with a team option in 2012-2013. Hawes is due nearly $3 million next season and has a qualifying offer in 2011-2012.
So it is evident that the move was purely an attempt to free up roster space.
Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young are making Sixers G.M. Ed Stefanski think twice about drafting Evan Turner.
Iguodala’s game is very similar to Turner’s. An all-around player with an inconsistent jump shot, Iguodala will be nearly impossible to deal thanks primarily to his huge contract which doesn't expire until 2013-2014.
Young’s skills make him ideally suited to play at small forward, meaning that the only spot on the floor for Turner would be at point guard.
That worked in college, but it wouldn’t work in the NBA for a multitude of reasons.
Lou Williams, Willie Green, and Jrue Holiday need to get minutes somewhere.
Philly fans might not like it, but all signs point to Derrick Favors.
The Sixers ranked near the bottom of the NBA in rebounding last season and just traded away their best rebounder. Favors might not be able to score consistently early in his career, but his size and athleticism suggests that he will at least be able to rebound.
With Iguodala, Williams, and Young capable offensive threats, Favors doesn’t need to score to have an impact. And while Elton Brand is on his last leg, he is still capable of contributing on the offensive end.
In the end, the No. 2 pick might simply come down to drafting for need as opposed to drafting the best player available.
It might seem crazy at the moment, but the Sixers’ strategy could pay dividends in a few years.