If the Sixers do agree to let Elton Brand walk under the NBA’s amnesty clause, they will be in position to add a power forward from the crop of potential free agents in the 2012 class. Amnesty allows a team to pay a player his salary – something even wealthy team owners don’t look upon favorably – while it comes off the team’s salary cap.
The power forward who has risen to the top of that list is believed to be New Jersey unrestricted free agent Kris Humphries. Just 27, the 6-9, 235-pound Humphries averaged 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds for the Nets in the recently completed season. He shot better than 48 percent from the field.
He is a very good offensive rebounder – something the Sixers sorely need – and he is an improving defender.
The Sixers will almost certainly have their name mentioned in connection with Humphries because, if Brand comes off the books, they’ll have plenty of cash below salary cap, which should be in the range of $58 million when it is determined later this summer. Another name you should keep your eyes on is Carl Landry (New Orleans). He’s also the kind of power forward that the Sixers may like.
However, it might behoove the Sixers to wait until next summer to think about spending their money, because the free-agent list then will be significantly more appealing.
The list could include restricted free agents Blake Griffin and Taj Gibson. The list of unrestricted free agent forwards will include Josh Smith (Atlanta), David West (Indianapolis), and Utah’s Paul Milsap. Milsap teammate Al Jefferson, a center, will also be unrestricted.
On a different note, I remain utterly convinced that Sixers guard Lou Williams will terminate the final year of his contract and hit the market as an unrestricted free agent. Ignore any question directed at Williams asking him if he’d like to come back to Philly. Yep, Philly is a great town. And I think Williams likes playing here. In fact, I know he does.
"At this point I just think it would be crazy for me to leave," Williams said. "This is somewhere where I have carved out a lane. This is somewhere where my family is and it's my second home outside of Atlanta.
"But business is business," he continued in the same breath. "Once it comes time to deal with that we'll get to the table."
Williams won't just take the money and run; he has too much pride for that. He's not going to want to play for a loser just for more money, either.
But this is a business for these guys. Just because they like playing somewhere doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested in taking care of their family to the best of their ability. Williams, according to a source very close to the situation, wants a nice, long-term deal. And after that one is over, Williams, just 25, is going to want one more deal.
Can’t blame him.
Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JmitchInquirer