Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sixers deal Carney, Booth to clear salary for Brand or Smith

According to Yahoo Sports, the Sixers have made an interesting trade that helps clear cap space to sign a big-time free agent. The trade can't be announced until tomorrow, but the Sixers have agreed to trade Rodney Carney, Calvin Booth and a future 1st round pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for a 2.8 million dollar trade exception.

While this trade looks extremely lopsided on paper, and giving up a first round pick is never a good thing, the Sixers have now positioned themselves to make a serious run at one of the two big free agents out there, Elton Brand or Josh Smith. The trade clears up an extra two million dollars that can then be built into a salary offer for either player.

It has been speculated that Brand was going to go back to Los Angeles to team up with the newest Clipper, Baron Davis, but as more time passes, the Sixers have gotten increasingly aggressive in going after Brand. ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Sixers are a "serious threat" to lure Brand out of Los Angeles. The Sixers initially didn't think they could compete financially but with the trade they are right in the mix.

Elton Brand is probably Plan A, making Josh Smith, who visited the Sixers last week, Plan B. Smith, a restricted free agent, is in a different situation from Brand, who is an unrestricted free agent. Any offer the Sixers make to Smith can be matched by the Atlanta Hawks, so it makes sense that the Sixers would first pursue the player they have more control over signing.

Losing Rodney Carney, and to a lesser extent Calvin Booth, won't hurt the Sixers too much, but it does affect their depth. Carney showed flashes of potential but struggled to find his place on the Sixers. With the immediate impact that Thaddeus Young made on the team, Carney became expendable. Booth was a bit player who could block shots but made little impact when he was on the floor.

The Sixers have now lined themselves up to sign a big-time free agent that can have a huge impact on the team. Let's hope the extra money is enough incentive to lure Brand or Smith to play for this up-and-coming Sixers team.


Anonymous said...

Hope they use some of that money and pick up some talent the draft missed out on from out of philly schools ... Like Pat Calathes or Darnell Harris..

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