With his seemingly heartfelt and very well written announcement yesterday, LeBron James is headed back home to Cleveland. In his story, James stated that he made a mistake leaving Cleveland for South Beach four years ago and that his time spent in Miami was one that enlightened him as to how much he needed to return to the Cavaliers, where he spent the first seven years of his career.
As expected, James’ decision will have a trickle-down effect on many teams in the league, perhaps including the 76ers. Sitting about $30 million under the league’s $63 million salary cap, the Sixers are in a great position to take on salaries from other teams. The benefits would be that the Sixers would be taking on expiring contracts and they can also demand some compensation from teams for helping them out.
“We’re in a very good position,” said general manager Sam Hinkie. “If we can help other teams out by taking on an expiring contract, we can benefit by getting something in return.”
That something, or somethings, would come in the form of draft picks. With James moving back to Cleveland, teams are now putting a full-court press on free agent Chris Bosh. One of those teams, the Houston Rockets, would have to unload some salary before being able to sign Bosh. [UPDATE: Bosh decided to re-sign with the Heat.] A source told the Daily News yesterday that the teams were in negotiations on a deal, but Lin was later traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
With Lin now out of the picture, perhaps the Sixers will target another high-priced expiring contract, maybe New York’s Amare Stoudemire. Whatever they do, the biggest priority for Hinkie will be to secure more asstets.
Now that Cleveland has James, they will need to finagle their roster a bit to ensure him the money that he will command and another prized player (Kevin Love). Early hints seem to indicate that perhaps Andrew Wiggins, last month’s No. 1 overall pick by the Cavs, is going to be moved. In James’ letter, he named some Cleveland players that he was excited to be joining, but left Wiggins’ name out. Could the crafty Hinkie make something work for a deal that would bring Wiggins to Philadelphia?