Upgrade All Your Sixersthe Sixers offense has generally worked better when Elton Brand hasn't been involved. It appears we'll have the rest of this season to test the theory, as Brand will have shoulder surgery that will end his first year in Philly on a very sour note.
With Brand out of the picture, the fantasy value for just about every member of that team gets a significant boost. Slashers like Andre Iguodala will have a clearer path to get to the rack. Young bigs like Thaddeus Young and Mareese Speights will get extra playing time. And the entire team will play at a quicker pace, as they did last year.
But Brand's injury raises major questions about the short-term future of Andre Miller. Miller's $10 million contract expires after this season. It probably doesn't make sense for the Sixers to bring him back after this year. And with nearly $40 million committed to just three players -- Brand, Iguodala and Lou Williams -- through the 2012/2013 season, simply letting Miller's deal expire won't put Philly in a position to bid on the big 2010 free agents. And now that Brand is damaged goods, trading him to get in position for the LeBron sweepstakes doesn't seem like an option either.
In my eyes, this puts Philly in a unique position. They have talent to trade -- talent that would be immensely valuable to a contender or a team trying to clear cap space.
At the same time, they don't have to worry about clearing space for 2010, so they can take back contracts that last more than a year.
If I'm running the club, I'm looking to deal Miller for a couple more pieces to put around Brand, Iguodala and the rest... maybe the Blazers would be interested? And maybe that makes Philly a much stronger team in 2009, when the rest of the league is still waiting around for 2010.
If this makes sense to you, the obvious player to target is Lou Williams... Williams is just 30% owned, and he'd be in position to step into the starting point guard spot on a fast-paced team if Miller is dealt.