State of the Cap: Philadelphia 76ers
By Josh Redetzke
2007/08 Philadelphia 76ers Payroll: $63.3 million
2007/08 Estimated NBA Salary Cap: $55 million
Roughly: $8.3 million over cap
[img_assist|nid=3895|title=Andre Iguodala - AP Photo: Reinhold Matay|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=287|height=565]The Good: The Philadelphia 76ers are a new team after a couple of huge transactions took place this season and with it, they have a new leader: Andre Iguodala. Freed from the shot attempts of Allen Iverson and Chris Webber, Iguodala thrived to the tune of 18.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. He also added 2 steals a game, good for second in the league. With that kind of all-around play, Iguodala is the perfect player to rebuild around. The 76ers are more than happy to have his services next season for a paltry $2.8 million. After that, though, its extension time.
Another young player that factors greatly in Philly's future is Kyle Korver. His deal is looking better and better each year. Korver can't fill up a box score like Iguodala, but the kid can definitely shoot it. He was ninth in the league in three-point percentage (43%) and first in the league at the free throw line (91.4%). For that, Korver gets a measly $19.6 million over the next four years. That's an excellent bargain.
After having one of the highest payrolls in the league the past few years, Philadelphia is finally getting close to fiscal responsibility. With Iverson gone, Webber bought out, and Aaron McKie's deal no longer affecting the cap after next season, the 76ers will be well under the cap in the summer of 2008.
The Bad: Only in America can a man get paid roughly $19 million dollars to NOT play basketball for a particular team. Not only that, but he got paid a little more to help another Eastern Conference team claim the top spot in the playoffs. Chris Webber's salary still hurts the team badly next season, but at least the 76ers can put the whole mess behind them after that. If only they could hit the reset button on that trade.
Did Samuel Dalembert improve this season? Yes. His numbers were up a little, averaging 10.7 points, 8.9 boards, and 1.9 blocks on 54% shooting. Is Samuel Dalembert earning his contract? Not exactly. The four years left on his deal average just under $11 million per year. That's all-star level money, which Dalembert has yet to attain. Consider this: he is the highest paid 76er right now, but he is probably the fourth most important player after Iguodala, Korver, and point guard Andre Miller. A little more improvement and Dalembert could earn his money. I'm not sure, however, if his ceiling can go any higher.
The Future: It's hard to believe that Philadelphia is no longer the home of Allen Iverson. It was a tough decision to make regarding their disgruntled superstar, but it was the right one. Many people complained that they didn't get enough in the trade. What more could they have gotten? Philly certainly received a lot more than Toronto did when they traded Vince Carter. Andre Miller isn't a spectacular player, but he is a solid veteran point guard that this young team needs and won't take shots away from other players. 13.6 points and 7.3 assists per game aren't bad. He is a little overpaid at $9.3 and $9.9 million the next two years, but those are the last two years on his contract so the 76ers can always get rid of him if he doesn't work out. They also received Joe Smith's $6.8 million expiring contract and two first-round draft picks in the upcoming draft. Those picks could be what make this deal very good for Philadelphia. The team actually turned down Nene in favor of Andre Miller, which at the time seemed logical, but a decision they will likely come to regret based on his late season surge. The 2007 draft is solid and Philly now has three selections; #12, #21, and #30. For a rebuilding team, those picks could add some pieces. Overall I think they did well in the Iverson trade and their future looks much brighter because of it.
In case you didn't notice, the 76ers weren't that bad after the dust settled from the Iverson and Webber situations. They can use their draft picks to add depth and then throw some money at a big name free agent in 2008. Philadelphia is poised to make a quick turnaround with some smart moves by their GM, Billy King. Unfortunately, smart moves aren't what Billy King is known for. Let's make sure he can resign Iguodala first. Letting him go would be a disaster.
Free Throw: After starting the season 5-19, the 76ers were over .500 the rest of the way, finishing 30-28. That is a credit to coach Maurice Cheeks. He kept his young team playing solid, competitive basketball after such a rough and tumultuous start. In fact, Philadelphia was one of the few teams that couldn't be accused of tanking at the end of the season as they went 15-9 in March and April. They played so well that they now have almost no shot at getting a top three pick in the draft lottery. It's ironic that if Philly had actually kept Webber and Iverson, two important players on playoff teams, they likely would have had a much better shot at Oden or Durant.