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News » Philadelphia 76ers Getting Inside 2008-05-08

Philadelphia 76ers Getting Inside 2008-05-08

Philadelphia 76ers Getting Inside 2008-05-08
The 76ers are expected to be about $11 million below the salary cap in July. While team president and general manager Ed Stefanski realizes re-signing restricted free agents Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams is important, as is bringing in a perimeter shooter to the league's worst 3-point shooting team in 2007-08, his top priority is adding a quality power forward.

The hard-working Reggie Evans and rookie Thaddeus Young, who is a natural small forward, handled the bulk of the "four" minutes this season. The offensively challenged Evans is best suited to 18 to 20 minutes a game, and the 6-8 Young, while tall and athletic enough to match up against more than half of the starting power forwards in the league, is at a size disadvantage against more traditional, bigger fours.

The ideal power forward for the Sixers would be somebody who can score inside and command a double-team, hit the boards and bring toughness. Although there aren't many of those guys in the league, a few could become available.

The Wizards' Antawn Jamison will be an unrestricted free agent. The Pacers' Jermaine O'Neal, the Clippers' Elton Brand and the Heat's Shawn Marion can opt out of their contracts, although it's possible none of them will. The Hawks' athletic Josh Smith will be a restricted free agent.

Jamison puts up good numbers -- he averaged 21.4 points and 10.2 rebounds -- but he'll be 32 on June 12, which might be too old for the young Sixers. O'Neal is very skilled, but he's missed 38, 31, 13 and 40 games over the past four years because of injury. Brand is another 20-and-10 guy, but he sat out all but eight games this season with an Achilles injury. Marion is undersized but athletic. Smith isn't an inside scorer, but he blocks shots, rebounds and runs the floor extremely well.

Other possibilities could be the Lakers' Ronny Turiaf, a restricted free agent whose contract would put L.A. deeper into luxury-tax territory. The Sonics' Chris Wilcox, 25, could be available in a trade. He has one more year left on his current contract at $6.7 million.

Free agency isn't the only route Stefanski can pursue. Being $11 million under the cap would allow him to trade a player for somebody making more money.

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Beating the NBA-leading Celtics 95-90 on March 24 in Beantown. That come-from-behind victory gave the young Sixers a big confidence boost in a month that also featured road wins over the Suns and Pistons as well as a home victory over the Spurs.

TURNING POINT: A five-game winning streak -- all at home -- going into the All-Star break got the Sixers started on a 19-5 stretch that turned them from a lottery team to a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. They dispatched three losing teams, the Wizards and the Mavericks to begin establishing a home-court advantage that produced 12 victories in 13 games at the Wachovia Center.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 8, 2008


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