Just as Philadelphia’s notorious sports boo-birds began clearing their throats for a little un-brotherly love over their NBA team’s offseason inactivity, the Sixers made some noise of their own.
There were a myriad of reported items for the Sixers on Friday, starting with an agreement on a one-year contract worth approximately $6 million for shooting guard Nick Young. Then the Sixers made even bigger news, making clear their plan to use the CBA’s amnesty clause on veteran power forward Elton Brand, as ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports:
Brand will still collect the full $18 million that the Sixers owe him next season, but he will first be offered to teams under the salary cap through the waiver process, with under-the-cap teams able to lodge bids for him.
Sources tell ESPN.com that the Dallas Mavericks, under the salary cap after being foiled in their pursuit of marquee free agent Deron Williams, have interest in claiming Brand through the waiver process.
In the event that he goes unclaimed on waivers, Brand would then be free to sign as a free agent wherever he chooses.
They also will not be bringing back combo guard Lou Williams, a free agent who – off the bench – was Philadelphia’s leading scorer last season (14.9 ppg in 26.3 mpg). Williams removed any uncertainty about his Philly future by going the D-Will route and tweeted the news himself:
Philly, I appreciate you all. Unfortunately I will not be coming back, as an organization they decided to move in a different direction.
Young, 27, has the skills to replace Williams’ scoring and more — he averaged 16.6 ppg for Washington through the first 40 games before being shipped to the Clippers in the three-team trade that delivered Nene to the Wizards. He has good range, a missing ingredient for the Sixers last season, though he was considered one of the immature Washington players who had to go in a chemistry makeover.
Cutting its ties with Brand is a major move for Philadelphia. The best of his four Sixers seasons was 2010-11 when he averaged 15.0 points and 8.3 rebounds, both still shy of his career numbers (18.3, 9.4). He started 60 games last season, and all 13 in the postseason, but scored in double figures only five times, grabbed 10 rebounds once and averaged only 27.4 mpg, 8.6 ppg and 4.8 rpg. The Sixers, under coach Doug Collins, were faster and more potent with Thaddeus Young and Lavoy Allen up front.
Once Brand clears the NBA’s amnesty waivers (teams below the salary cap will get first crack), the Sixers will bring their cap number down by $18.2 million (Brand ranked ninth in salaries for 2012-13). Some NBA insiders think Philadelphia might use its freed-up money to go after Ersan Ilyasova, Milwakee’s unrestricted free-agent forward and a lanky double-double threat who finished second in Most Improved Player balloting.
Ilyasova, 25, also is believed to be targeted by the Nets and the Cavaliers and reportedly isn’t happy with Milwaukee’s offer of about $40 million over five years. (But only the Bucks can offer him a five-year deal; others can go no longer than four). The native of Turkey apparently wouldn’t mind exiting Milwaukee either, according to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times:
[Representative Tolga] Tugsavul made it quite clear the Bucks’ offer wasn’t acceptable for him.
“We’re looking for a better offer,” Tugsavul said succinctly.
While Tugsavul was guarded about Ilyasova’s intentions, some acquaintances of Ilyasova told The Journal Times he wasn’t particularly content inMilwaukeeand would sign with another team that made a comparable or better offer than the Bucks.
Tugsavul wouldn’t divulge how much Ilyasova is seeking, but some people who have been involved with Ilyasova’s free-agent activities said it was $10 million a season.
The Sixers also would have money available to pursue a reliable backup point guard, another missing ingredient last season, wrote Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News:
Right now Jrue Holiday is the only real point guard on the roster, though Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala could handle the ball when necessary. A true backup point guard would allow the team to not only use him when Holiday is out of the game, but moveHolidayoff the ball at times also.
None of this is to say that Philadelphia sports fans still won’t boo the Sixers. But now they can boo them for doing something vs. nothing.