Sixers Amnesty Elton Brand; Sign Nick Young

I’m not sure how I feel about this, but the 76ers reportedly just used their amnesty clause on Elton Brand to clear $18 million-worth of cap space. At almost the exact same time, news is out that Philly has agreed to a free agent deal with Nick Young. Yep, they essentially used their magic salary bullet to clear some space for Nick Young.

So what is Philly up to?

Let me start by saying that I like their aggression in making moves the last two weeks, even if on the surface the moves don’t necessarily immediately seem to make a ton of sense. Draft night was puzzling, when they selected St. John’s’ Maurice Harkless at No. 15, when their roster is already dominated by swingmen who can’t really shoot. They rebounded a bit when they made a deal to later get big man Arnett Moultrie from the Heat later on in the first round.

The consensus coming out of that night was that there were more moves to be made and today is looking to be that next step in the process. By removing Brand from the roster, they gain that cap space (though they still have to pay Elton the remaining money), but are now dangerously thin on their front line. Brand is a far cry from the dominant force he was in the early/mid ’00’s, but he is still rugged, reliable and a steady influence in one of the NBA’s youngest locker rooms.

Adding Young clearly gives them more perimeter scoring punch, but he is almost a 6-7 clone of Lou Williams (instant offense off the bench, horrific shot selection, etc.). Williams, a restricted free agent, is seeking a long-term deal, so the Sixers opted to go with Young and a one-year, $6 million deal and will likely let Lou walk.

Shortly after the Young signing hit, Williams tweeted the following: “Philly, I appreciate you all. Unfortunately I will not be coming back, as an organization they decided to move in a different direction.”

Now the focus is on what Philly will do with all of that Brand money. There was a thought that they would hold on to Elton and his contract for the final year of his deal to either trade him before the deadline or to just let his money come off the books at the end of the season to pursue big free agents in 2013. The time is apparently now in Philly though, despite the fact that the top free agents for the most part are off the board. They need toughness, rebounding and scoring on their front line and a backup PG. I would love to see them add Ersan Ilyasova or make a run at Ryan Anderson. I spoke to Evan Turner two weeks ago, and he said that he thinks that team’s biggest need is a “stretch 4” – a PF who can knock down long jumpers. Both those guys would fit the bill.

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