Suddenly the Sixers have financial flexibility
The pressure to extend or re-sign Andrew Bynum to a long-term deal began as soon as the Sixers traded for him and Jason Richardson on Aug. 10. Bynum has one year remaining on his contract and can be signed to a longer-term deal if he does not sign an extension before he becomes a free agent.
In the event he does hit the market -- which, given the situation, seems likely -- he won't be the only Sixer to do so.
Head coach Doug Collins
and team CEO Adam Aron
both made mention earlier this off-season, before the game-changing Bynum acquisition, that their previous moves gave the franchise a level of flexibility when it came to having a number of short-term, relatively cost-effective, potentially movable contracts.
They weren't kidding. In fact, there will be a grand total of nine Sixers whose contracts will expire within the next two years.
Five of those contracts -- Bynum, Jrue Holiday, Nick Young, Dorell Wright and Royal Ivey -- are up at the end of next season. Four more -- Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, Kwame Brown and Lavoy Allen -- expire at the end of the 2013-14 season. For reference, Brown's is technically for one season with a player option for a second, though his agent has called it a two-year deal
Starting with the five due to end next summer, the Sixers could very well walk into free agency with roughly $30 million off their books. Of course, should they re-sign Bynum, his max-deal will take up about two-thirds of that space. Then there's Jrue Holiday,
to whom the team can extend a qualifying offer for one more year, but
Holiday is reportedly seeking a max-contract instead. Go figure.
The three prominent members of the front court not named Bynum are due up the following the year, in addition to Turner. At that time, Turner,
like Holiday, can also be extended for a year via a qualifying offer,
one that might be more appealing to him than
Holiday, as Turner's draft position has him slotted in a higher pay
rate. Turner's offer would pay $8.7 million, whereas Holiday's would
only pay $3.7 million. Both become restricted free agents once the Sixers extend their qualifying offer.
Really, there's only three players to whom the Sixers are tied for more than the next two years. Thad Young's contract signed last summer takes him through at least the 2014-15 season, with a player option for the following year. First-round draft pick Arnett Moutlrie's standard, four-year rookie deal has him in a Sixers uniform through 2015-16. And then there's Jason Richardson, who can opt out of his deal two seasons from now, but is included in the list, because he could very well opt back in at the age of 33 for one more season at just over $6.5 million.
Here's the point: The Sixers just underwent a massive overhaul of their roster and the team could once again be unrecognizable in another two seasons, given how many players on the current roster will soon become free agents. Moreover, all their expiring contracts could make for fascinating trade bait for teams in search of cap relief. And as for Young and Moultrie, their deals are equally attractive considering their status as young players with talent who are, most appealingly, cost-certain over a long term.
We're talking about basketball contracts not related to Andre Iguodala nor Elton Brand in Philadelphia in August, and
it's exciting. What universe is this?E-mail Nick Menta at email@example.com