The Josh Smith tour of Philadelphia ended yesterday, with the power forward of the Atlanta Hawks being impressed by the presentation of the 76ers and reactions of the people of the city toward him.
But did the restricted free agent leave with an offer sheet from the Sixers?
"Um, not yet," Smith said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet. "We've got to wait and see what goes on with the revenue and stuff."
Smith was referring to the NBA salary cap. The Sixers have about $11.5 million in cap space to woo Smith from the Hawks, but they are evidently waiting to see how much more will be available when the league sets the cap figure for the 2008-09 season, probably next week.
When asked directly if an offer sheet was delivered to his client, agent Brian Dyke would not say.
"I'm not getting into that," Dyke said in a telephone interview. "I have no comment. I don't want to play this thing out through the media."
Sixers president and general manager Ed Stefanski was not available for comment.
The Sixers could offer the 6-foot-9 Smith a maximum five-year deal. If $11.5 million is the salary for the first year, the total worth of the contract would be about $66.7 million, but that could grow depending on how much more money the team would have at its disposal with the new cap.
The Hawks would have the right to match any offer made to Smith, who turned down a $45 million proposal before the start of last season. The team would weigh the heavy financial commitment against the need to show Hawks fans it will do whatever it takes to keep a young, promising team together.
The Sixers can make a formal offer on July 9, the first day players can be signed under NBA rules. The Hawks would then have seven days to match.
If Smith's reaction after his visit was any indication, the Sixers gained somewhat of an advantage.
"Just getting out of the car, I felt welcome as soon as I got here," the 22-year-old said. "People were stopping me and telling me they really wanted me to come."
On other player fronts yesterday, an NBA source said the Sixers had made contact with unrestricted free agent Corey Maggette and hope to speak with him next week. The Sixers also are expected to bring in restricted free agent Josh Childress, a teammate of Smith's with the Hawks, for a visit on Monday.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the Sixers are expected to be in the mix for Elton Brand, who is weighing offers from the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors became players in free-agent negotiations after Baron Davis opted out of his contract Monday, and they could be the chief challengers to the Sixers, not only for Brand but also for Smith and Andre Iguodala.
The Warriors have big offers on the table for two unrestricted free agents, Brand and guard Gilbert Arenas, who has been given a sizable contract proposal by his old team, the Washington Wizards. An NBA source said that, should both players spurn Golden State, the Warriors would go after who they feel are the best restricted free agents on the market: Smith and Iguodala.
Dyke acknowledged that there was interest throughout the league in Smith, but would not comment on which teams.
The Sixers can match any offer made to Iguodala, who apparently is standing by to see how the team fares with Smith before he begins talks with the team.
Iguodala's agent, Rob Pelinka, is also Maggette's agent. He was not available for comment.
Josh Smith, the Hawks' coveted restricted free agent, apparently left town without a contract offer from the Sixers.
It sets in motion a number of possibilities, with unrestricted free agent Elton Brand the linchpin.
If the Warriors don't sign Brand, they may go after Smith or Andre Iguodala, the Sixers' restricted free agent.
Corey Maggette, the Los Angeles Clippers' unrestricted free agent, may be in play now for the 76ers, and Atlanta restricted free agent Josh Childress is expected to visit Philadelphia on Monday.