The 76ers are strongly considering buying out the final year of Jerryd Bayless' contract, according to multiple sources.
One source told The Inquirer that Ned Cohen — the Sixers' vice president of basketball operations — contacted Bayless' representation, Jeff Schwartz, Sunday. The Sixers are exploring the possibility of a buyout if the team is unable to trade the guard, and even presented a buyout figure. Bayless is set to make $8.5 million during the upcoming season.
Another option would be to waive Bayless and stretch his salary over three years. This move would allow the Sixers to immediately free up money.
Right now, the Sixers have a practical salary-cap space of $31.3 million. That figure does not include the first-year salaries of the unsigned contracts of first-round picks Zhaire Smith ($2.59 million) and Landry Shamet ($1.69 million).
The Sixers are looking for ways to fit James under the cap, and dumping salaries is a start. Bayless averaged 7.9 points on 41.6 percent shooting while playing 39 games this season.
Over the 29-year-old's 10 NBA seasons, he has averaged 8.5 points and 2.8 assists a game and shooting 36.6 percent on three-pointers.
Bayless signed a three-year, $27 million free-agent deal with the Sixers on July 13, 2016. At the time, he was penciled in as the team's starting point guard. He was expected to be a scorer and defend opposing point guards while playing alongside Ben Simmons, who at the time was going to be the point forward.
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However, he played in only three games during the 2016-17 season due to surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist in December 2016. His role changed this past season with Simmons moving to point guard and the Sixers signing shooting guard JJ Redick to a one-year, $23 million deal last July.
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