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News » Philadelphia 76ers Getting Inside 2008-06-30

Philadelphia 76ers Getting Inside 2008-06-30

Philadelphia 76ers Getting Inside 2008-06-30
The real fun starts for the 76ers on July 1. That's when they can begin talking to free agents -- other teams' and their own. The Sixers are expected to be $11 million below the salary cap, which would be the second-highest total in the league (behind the Grizzlies), and they plan on spending that money on a quality power forward.

The Sixers can target unrestricted free agents, such as the Wizards' Antawn Jamison, and restricted free agents, of which the Hawks' athletic Josh Smith would be the most enticing. Would Atlanta match if the Sixers offered Smith a five-year deal starting at $11 million? If not, Smith could become a Sixer.

Clippers forward Elton Brand can opt out of his contract to become unrestricted by June 30.

"The $11 million is extremely important to get that free agent we want," said team president Ed Stefanski. "We will be active July 1. We've got to see if we can do something with that opportunity."

Another possibility is the Sixers could use the cap money in a trade. For example, they could deal a guy making $5 million for somebody earning $16 million.

The Sixers are also looking for a backup point guard and a shooter. They might be able to acquire a reserve point via trade, but Stefanski has said the shooter -- the Sixers ranked last in 3-point percentage in 2007-08 -- will likely have to come from the current roster.

After trying to address the "four" spot, Stefanski will turn his attention to restricted free agents Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams. The Sixers want both players back but don't plan on paying the $65 million over six years that Iguodala asked for and didn't get last October, when he turned down $57 million. Williams isn't looking for as much money, but he'll be looking for a significant raise on his $800,000 salary of the past season.

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: June 30, 2008


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