The laws of competition have always stated that there will be winners and there will be losers. Well, it’s no surprise that among the 30 basketball teams in the NBA there are the great, the good, there are the bad and there are the ugly. This post is devoted to the ugly. However, these ugly few are a different type of ugly. They are the type of ugly that will soon be beautiful – like the girl with pimples and braces in high-school who turns out to be a sports-illustrated swimsuit model at the time of the 10 year reunion. Unfortunately, that can’t be the case for every unsuccessful team in the NBA. Some of them – at the moment, will continue to be bad for decades to come. That’s just the way it is. So, let’s break it down… One ugly team at a time. Which team has the brightest future?
The teams we’ll cover are (in alphabetical order) the 76’ers, Bobcats, Cavaliers, Hornets, Kings, Magic, Pistons, Raptors, Suns, Timberwolves, and Wizards.
Based on last season there is no way that anybody thought Philly would end up in this conversation but hey, that’s just what happens when you gamble. And oh did the 76’ers gamble last summer! Mediocrity finally got to them and after a 2nd round exit last year they decided they wanted to be great or to be bad. At the time, the trade they made was good. To sum up, in case you’re not aware, Andre Igoudala was sent to Denver, Aaron Afflalo to Orlando, Dwight Howard to L.A and Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia. Now that I think about it everybody’s probably aware, Dwight Howard has made sure of it in one way or another. Anyway, I’m getting off track. They currently sit 14 games below .500 in the 9th seed in the East. Out of this crop of teams they’re actually the second best in terms of where they stand in their respective conference. So Iggy’s gone, they didn’t re-sign Lou Williams and Andrew Bynum went bowling so here they are. This summer they face a difficult decision and that is re-signing him or not. He’ll most definitely ask for a max contract and the simple answer to tell him when his agent requests it: Hell No. Putting your future in the hands of a guy who has yet to play this season due to a setback that occurred during a bowling incident isn’t smart. His knees are rusty, he’s unreliable. If they do re-sign him and he busts then they’re not going to be able to trade him because nobody’s going to want him. Just ask New York about it, they gave Amar’e a 5 year 100 million dollar contract and look at them now. They have a round table of men with strong new york accents from all five boroughs thinking of ways to get him off their payroll. Let someone else take the risk on him. I mean Spencer Hawes isn’t too bad and there is a somewhat deep crop of big men in the draft this year that they can draft considering their odds of having a late lottery pick. Maybe Olynk drops, maybe a Rudy Gobert or a Mason Plumlee. Whatever it is, I’m just saying there are other options and wiser ways to spend your money especially because you weren’t going to win with Bynum, so instead of hold yourself hostage with a mediocre team rather be a mediocre team with freedom to improve.
This summer they have 7 unrestricted free agents including Bynum, Dorell Wright, Nick Young among others. So if they don’t resign anybody they will have 17 million dollars worth of cap space to use in the summer. Now if I’m the Sixers – and in this situation I am as I am trying to build their future I would let Nick Young go. He’s having a dismal season in comparison to years past – only scoring 10 a game on 35% shooting from beyond the arc and frankly he’s immature and he’s replaceable. I would re-sign Dorell Wright because he’s cheap at around 4 mill a year and he’s a solid role player who can shoot the ball. If that goes according to plan I have approximately 11.5 million in cap space with around 5.20 million available for my mid-level exception. So if they don’t give Bynum an extension than the biggest contract they’re going to be able to offer anybody this off-season considering no sign and trades go down or anything like that is about a 5 year 63 million dollar contract. Now I’m not really sure who they’d offer that to this offseason maybe an Al Jefferson at center or if Portland doesn’t resign Hickson or if Pekovic doesn’t resign with Minnesota those are three centers who would be asking around that price – Pekovic and Hickson probably demanding less. So those are several options, the other thing the 76’ers could do is just start building a bench and put your faith in Jrue Holiday to be your centerpiece for the future. Maybe spend lightly this summer, get a Ronnie Brewer and a Nate Robinson and hopefully get a high pick in what could be the best draft class since 2003 in 2014. Beyond this offseason, I beg the 76’ers to get rid of Jason Richardson. He’s disgustingly overpaid at 12 million over the next two years with a player option in 2014.
What the 76’ers have now however is a light at the end of the tunnel, they have some young talent already on their roster in the form of All-star Jrue Holiday, slasher Evan Turner, and Glue guy Thad Young. They have some good picks in the upcoming years and hopefully they don’t resign Bynum and start over… again.