So much to do in so little time. In the next couple of days the NBA will do its due diligence, dotting the Is and crossing the Ts on an agreement that they agreed to in principle in the wee hours of Saturday morning (see story).
There will be no litigation. The NBPA will reassemble itself. A new Collective Bargaining Agreement will be ratified and a 66-game season will begin Christmas Day.
If all goes as planned, NBA training camps will open on Dec. 9, as will free agency. Heres a look at what the Sixers will face before the start of the season:
Fortunately for the Sixers, scrambling to sign free agents wont be too big of a deal. They have nine core guys under contract: Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, Elton Brand, Jodie Meeks, Lou Williams, Craig Brackins, Marreese Speights and Andres Nocioni.
The key guys they must decide on are restricted free agents Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes. Under the new CBA the team will have three days to match any offer either receives. Of course they also could re-sign both, beginning Dec. 9.
Young has been a reserve for the Sixers, though there may be teams seeking to make him a starter given his statistics last season, when he averaged 12.7 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 54 percent from the floor. His defense was greatly improved and his ability to create matchup problems for the opponent was an advantage.
Hawes was the teams starting center, though he put up reserve numbers. He averaged just 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds in 21 minutes a game. Depending what the Sixers are able to do in free agency, Hawes could be back in the same role or become a backup to a veteran big man yet to be named.
Sources say there is an amnesty clause in the new CBA, like in the previous agreement, which allows each team to get rid of a player, though paying the remainder of his existing contract, without the salary counting against the cap. It is a one-time only option for the lifetime of the new CBA.
While there are people who have suggested that the Sixers use the amnesty with Brand, that wont happen. Brand is owed 35 million over the next two seasons. He was the teams leading scorer (15.4) and rebounder (8.4) while shooting nearly 55 percent from the floor.
Brand is too valuable to let go, but Nocioni is a different story. Nocioni has one year remaining on his deal at just under 7 million. His presence caused a problem in the rotation last year because he took minutes away from Turner, which may have slowed the then rookies progress.
If the Sixers use the amnesty clause on Nocioni, they could use the money on a free agent. Regardless of whether they spent that money or use the mid-level exception, they will likely target a center that could battle Hawes for that starting spot.
Last season Brand played many critical minutes at center. It would certainly be a bonus if Doug Collins could use Brand more sparingly at the five position.
New and improved?
Turner took to the hardwood this summer determined to earn more then the 23 minutes he averaged last year. Last year's second overall pick worked diligently on his jump shot this summer with Hall of Fame coach Herb Magee in an effort to improve his 42.5 field goal percentage and 31.8 from long range.
Saturday afternoon, Magee described what Sixers fans can look forward to seeing from Turner this season.
His confidence is really up. He has been in quite a bit, Magee said. His mid-range jumper has really improved and his three-point shot is better. If he is open for a three he wont be afraid to take it. The two things we really set out to work on was his grip and making the ball go straight. He had what I would call a ball that wandered with distance.
By wandered Magee explained that the ball would come off Turners fingers to the right or left as he increased his distance.
The other day we did a drill of 50 balls where he took ten consecutive shots from a spot and he had five spots, Magee recalled. He shot all 50 balls dead straight. I think you are going to see a big improvement. And off the bounce, this guy is really good.
More and more it looks like Turner will fight for and win the starting two-guard spot. Meeks is more of a pure shooter, but this team needs their roles to reverse if they are going to be better then their 41-41 record of last season.
The team has two draft picks to think about: Nikola Vucevic and Temples Lavoy Allen. Vucevic has been playing in his home country of Montenegro while Allen landed on a team in France. Interestingly enough both of them played well in what could be their respective last game overseas given that each has an NBA opt out clause.
The seven-foot Vucevic has scored 19 points on 8-for-19 shooting (1 for 4 from three) grabbed seven rebounds and blocked two shots in 41 minutes while playing in Montenegro.
Allen recorded a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 12 boards in his last game in France and has three double-doubles in eight games. Allen was a second-round pick, so he is not guaranteed to make the team.
Last year the Sixers carried 13 guys on the roster. The league maximum is 15. Only 12 players dress each game.
Collins plans on keeping things simple in terms of plays the team runs, and he intends to run things he believes his players liked and ran well a year ago. He made this decision having watched what NFL teams did well after their lockout this summer, and keeping it simple seemed to equal early success.
Sixers training camp always has been held at a college. Larry Brown used to take the team to the University of North Carolina. At the end of his tenure in Philadelphia, the Sixers headed to Happy Valley and used Penn States facilities. When Brown departed, then President Billy King went back to North Carolina, only to his alma mater, Duke. In recent years the team made the trek a local one and had camp at Saint Josephs.
While the Hawks season has begun, the university could make camp possible for its pro brethren if it so chooses. Otherwise the Sixers will utilize their practice facility, PCOM, which has been upgraded on multiple levels by the new ownership.
E-mail Dei Lynam at firstname.lastname@example.org