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Everything You Need to Know About Sam Hinkie’s Ability to Blow Up the Sixers Next Summer

Sep 4, 2013, 1:03 PM EDT

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Discussion of the Sixers’ upcoming tank job usually focuses on next year’s loaded NBA Draft. The Sixers will have could very well own two lottery picks, one of their own and one from New Orleans.

But what’s getting left out of this conversation is the team’s current roster. You know,  all the guys who will be playing and losing. What becomes of them? Will they even be here next year?

Gonzo wrote about Josh Harris’ finances on Tuesday, but what about Sam Hinkie’s?

If Hinkie really wants to blow up this roster, as he started to do on draft night by trading Jrue Holiday, it won’t be difficult.

Consider this, there are only four guys the Sixers currently have under contract that they cannot lose via free agency next summer.

  • Thaddeus Young has two more seasons at just north and south of $9 million per before his early termination option comes into play in 2015-16.
  • Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams are guaranteed for two seasons before team options kick in prior to 2015-16.
  • Jason Richardson, who is still alive, has a $6.6 million player option for 2014-15.

And that’s it. The entire rest of the roster can be sent packing at the cost of a minimum cap hold.

Here are your free agents:

  • RFA Evan Turner: Carries an $8.7 million qualifying offer.
  • RFA Lavoy Allen: Carries a $3.8 million qualifying offer.
  • UFA Spencer Hawes
  • UFA Kwame Brown

Here are your guys with 2014-15 team options:

  • Royce White
  • Arnett Moultrie
  • Tony Wroten

And here are your guys without guaranteed deals:

  • James Anderson
  • Tim Olbrecht

(Note: It is likely Furkan Aldemir and Arsalan Kazemi remain overseas this year. Even if they do play for the Sixers, they’re currently without contracts, so we’re leaving them out of this discussion.)

Since we’re all already looking ahead to 2014-15 anyway, we won’t have to wait much longer to get a peek at Sam Hinkie’s plans.

The deadline for clubs to extend their restricted free agents and those players with team options is Oct. 31. You’ll remember the Sixers agreed to a four-year extension with Jrue Holiday right after the home opener and right before that Oct. 31 deadline last year.

So in a little less than two months, you could see Sam Hinkie make key decisions on at least five players: Turner, Allen, White, Moultrie, Wroten.

To address Turner specifically, his qualifying offer is astronomical compared to his performance over the past three seasons. If he and the Sixers do not come to an agreement by Oct. 31, the team will have until June 30 either extend him or submit his qualifying offer. Otherwise, he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

As for White, Tom Moore reported last week that the Rockets are paying White’s $1.7 million salary. There have been multiple reports, including Moore’s, that Aldemir was the real target of the deal.

The other three pieces, Allen, Moultrie, Wroten are all young and relatively cheap if extended.

But here’s what we’re ultimately getting at with the Sixers’ salary cap future. If Hinkie & Co. were to jettison the free agents, not exercise the team options and abandon the non-guaranteed pieces, they could have a lot of money to play with next summer in a large free-agent class.

How much money?
If we stay with the scenario above in which the team jettisons everyone it’s contractually able to and renounces its rights to those players so as the be rid of their cap holds, the Sixers would have anywhere from $28-41 million in cap space next summer, with anywhere from four to six guys on the roster. That range depends upon the number and order of their future draft picks and whether or not Jason Richardson comes back.

There are obviously less ambitious routes, but even parting with just the free agents — Turner, Hawes, Allen and Brown — would leave the front office with anywhere from $23-35 million.

As you can tell by reading through this, there are a lot of contingencies, and these are just a few scenarios.

Point is, Sam Hinkie could have a lot of money to play with next summer, assuming he wants it.

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  2. ochospantalones - Sep 5, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    It is pretty amazing how few players are likely to still be on the team next off-season.

    Nerlens Noel and MCW are near-locks to be around. The only way either is gone if they end up as part of a package for a star player (or draft pick next year), but it is very difficult to see a scenario where that actually happens.

    The three young bigs (Moultrie, Aldemir, and Kazemi) will presumably remain under team control, though it’s possible either Aldemir or Kazemi or both could remain abroad another year. They’re all cheap, so unless they look totally useless there is not much point in dropping them.

    Jason Richardson will probably still be here, though depending on how he recovers from the knee injury he could retire, opt out and look to sign with a contender, or take a buyout.

    Thaddeus Young is an interesting case. It seems pretty clear Hinkie and Brown both value him as a player, and his contract is reasonable. So there is no pressure to trade him. On the other hand, he’s also their only real asset in terms of win-now talent, so a trade is not out of the question if they can get good picks or young talent for him while aiding the tanking effort. Basically, if they have a chance to do a Jrue-style trade with Thaddeus, they’ll probably take it.

    Lavoy Allen is probably gone, but they’ll need some bodies and they need to spend money on someone, so if he plays well he could stick around.

    Hawes, Kwame and Turner are gone gone gone. At least two of them probably won’t make it through the 2013-14 season. Royce White will be gone, barring some miracle reversal.

    Tony Wroten? I have no idea. He can’t be very expensive, so I guess if he shows any promise he sticks around as a backup.

    Anderson and Olbrecht probably don’t make it to opening night THIS season, nevertheless next season.

    So, bottom line, they have a ton of roster flexibility and a ton of cap room. The problem is the cap room is only useful if you already have an anchor star (like Andrew Wiggins) to draw in free agents. Elite players aren’t signing up to be part of a rebuild in Philadelphia, and you’re not going anywhere signing the Josh Smiths and Brandon Jennings of the worlds. But if we hit on a couple of our draft picks this could be an inviting free agent destination fairly quickly.

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  3. Mike - Sep 5, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    And that New Orleans pick isn’t protected or anything? And are rookie salaries slotted somehow by where they are picked or am I thinking of the NFL?

    Just trying to figure out if Sixers can get 2 Lottery picks and big free agent (or two) next year.

    -Mike from out of the area who hasn’t watched NBA in awhile.

    Reply
    • Nick Menta - Sep 5, 2013 at 10:10 PM

      Yup. New Orleans pick is Top-5 protected. First-round salaries are slotted. That’s why all those numbers are within a range.

      Reply

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