Sixers could wheel and deal in wake of James' decision

Posted: July 13, 2014

WITH HIS seemingly heartfelt and very well-written announcement yesterday, LeBron James is headed back home to Cleveland. In his essay, James said that he made a mistake leaving for South Beach 4 years ago but his time spent in Miami enlightened him as to how much he needed to return to Cleveland, where he spent the first 7 years of his career.

As expected, James' decision will have a trickle-down effect on many NBA teams, perhaps including the 76ers. Sitting about $30 million under the $63 million salary cap, the Sixers are in a great position to take on salaries from other teams. The benefits for the Sixers? Taking on expiring contracts that also would demand some compensation from teams for helping them out.

"We're in a very good position," general manager Sam Hinkie said. "If we can help other teams out by taking on an expiring contract, we can benefit by getting something in return."

That something, or somethings, would come in the form of draft picks. With James moving back to Cleveland, teams are now putting a fullcourt press on free agent Chris Bosh. One of those teams, the Houston Rockets, would have to unload some salary before being able to sign Bosh. A source told the Daily News yesterday that the teams were in negotiations on a deal, but Lin was later traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

With Lin now out of the picture, perhaps the Sixers will target another high-priced expiring contract, maybe New York's Amare Stoudemire. Whatever they do, Hinkie's priority will be to secure more assets.

Now that the Cavaliers have James, they will need to finagle their roster a bit to ensure him the money that he will command and another prized player (most likely Kevin Love).

Early hints seem to indicate that Andrew Wiggins, last month's No. 1 overall pick by the Cavs, might be moved. In James' letter, he named some Cleveland players he was excited to be joining, but left Wiggins' name out. Could the crafty Hinkie make something work for a deal that would bring Wiggins to Philadelphia?

Stay tuned.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76

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