Not that the Sixers were really counting on him this season — they have their plan to get good through being bad in place — but just be sure you don’t pick up Jason Richardson on your fantasy team to start the season.
Richardson was out last February for the season after his knee injury was diagnosed. He’s had his operation — but he told MLive.com about it and it’s much more serious than first thought.
Players tend to be optimistic about their return dates, and Richardson made it sound like he hopes to play again around the All-Star break.
“I was diagnosed with having a hole in my meniscus about the size of a quarter. Going to several doctors to see what was the best procedure to have, I decided to go with a fairly new procedure called Denovo surgery. It’s a surgery where they take juvenile cartilage and implant it back into my knee where the cartilage damage occur….
“My rehab process right now… I have to be on crutches for 12 weeks completely … no weight bearing on my left leg (Been on them for 5 weeks now), after crutches I have to be in a special brace called the loader brace which relieves stress from the area of the surgery for six months.
“Some time by mid-October, I will be able to start lifting light weights, and hopefully if all goes well I will be able to resume normal basketball activity by late January-early February.”
(Hat tip to Zach at Eye on Basketball for finding that.)
If the player’s optimistic date is February…
Let’s just say the Sixers aren’t really counting on big contributions from him at all this season and wouldn’t be shocked if he was out for the year.
We talk a lot about the salary cap and luxury tax on this site, the numbers farther up the NBA play ladder, but there is a floor, too — teams need to have at least 90 percent of the salary cap filled, or $52.81 million on the books this season.
With the addition of Tony Wroten, the Sixers have 11 guaranteed contracts (if you count first round picks) totaling $42.8 million — new Sixers GM Sam Hinkie needs to add $10 million in salary by the end of the season to make the minimum. (Salary figures via Sham Sports and Hoopsworld.) If they don’t make the number the penalty is… just having to pay what they are short to the league. So, nothing really.
This is a young team with Evan Turner, Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter Williams, Royce White, and Arnett Moultrie all on their rookie deals. The highest paid Sixer is Thaddeus Young at $8.9 million and only four Sixers make more than the league average (the others are Turner, Spencer Hawes and Jason Richardson).
It’s one of the reasons the Sixers made the Wroten deal, he is owed $1.2 million next season.
It’s just something to watch. The Sixers are rebuilding and are not going to take on long-term contracts for overpaid veterans, but they are going to have to take on some salary somewhere. They can absorb a deal in an unbalanced trade to make the mark; they may take on a contract another team wants to dump.
One way or another Philadelphia has to add $10 million in salary before the season ends. So expect some kind of move.
The Grizzlies traded their first-round pick to Cleveland to get under the luxury tax and save about $4 million. Now they can use some of that money to get a first-round pick back.
Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld:
Memphis is looking to buy a first-round pick, so expect the Grizzlies to get in the mix and send some cash to a team divesting a pick.
Memphis is certainly changing under new owner Robert Pera. Before he bought the team, the Grizzlies were the type to sell its first-round pick. Now, they’re not as concerned with being cheap but with being smart. Teams can use up to $3.1 million in trades, including for draft picks, per season, so if they complete a deal, they will have saved about $1 million or more.Of course, there are also reasons to move into the first round other than not having a first-round pick. Kyler:
Philadelphia is trying to do the same.
The 76ers hold the No.
10 11 pick, but they have more than one need. If they don’t keep Andrew Bynum, they’ll need a big man. They could also use help on the wing, considering Nick Young and Dorell Wright will be free agents this summer and Jason Richardson is getting old. A backup point guard would also help.This is probably a good year to buy a late first-round pick. Teams aren’t yet completely prepared for stiffer luxury tax penalties, but those are looming. So, not only will teams in danger of paying the tax be reluctant to add a guaranteed rookie-scale contract, they’ll appreciate an influx of cash.Of course, the Grizzlies and 76ers know this, too, and they also know this is perceived to be a weak draft.Whether a deal is reached is predicated on how desperate teams are to dump their first-round picks and whether they’re willing to accept less money than they could get in a typical year.
Some teams have packed it in already. The Portland Trail Blazers decided to play their young guys a lot more rather than chance a final playoff spot and have lost 12 in a row. The Cleveland Cavaliers are disinterested, and unfortunately that group includes Kyrie Irving.
But they aren’t the only teams that can’t wait for the final buzzer tonight.
The Philadelphia 76ers are one of those teams — this season has been a huge disappointment, centered around the fact center Andrew Bynum never touched the court. Coach Doug Collins is leaving the bench when the season ends.
And the players, speaking with Dei Lynam at CSNPhilly.com, sound ready for it to end.
“It is just going to be good to get it over with,” Spencer Hawes said. “With all the expectations we had coming in and then the way the season has gone it will be nice to take the positives going forward and flush the rest of it. It was a tough year on everybody; us [and] the fans, anyone involved with the organization.”
Thaddeus Young tends to dwell on what might have been.
“I have thought each and every day about that,” Young said when asked how often he thinks about what would have been if Bynum had played this season. “I pretty much have thought if we had had the big fella in the middle, pretty much a whole bunch of things could have changed. This team was assembled for him to pretty much work in the post and for him to be able to kick out to Dorell [Wright], Nick Young and Jason Richardson.
“He was the perfect situation for this team. But at the end of the day, it happened where he didn’t play this season. And then J-Rich went down and when guys go down like that, you pray they come back 100 percent when they come back and we just try to finish out for our brothers.”
The Sixers have a lot of changes coming this off season — that could start with the GM’s chair, it will include the coach, then there are a host of roster calls to make. Starting with whether to offer free agent Andrew Bynum a contract, and if so for how much?
But first, they just need to get this season over.
Sixers fans would probably like to forget that last summer’s trade to bring Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia ever happened. Looking at the official team picture from the 2012-13 season should make it very easy.
From John Finger of CSNPhilly.com:
Though there were a lot of different faces in this year’s photo, there were two that were conspicuous by their absences.
One was Jason Richardson, who was rehabbing his surgically-repaired knee. The other was Andrew Bynum, who also is rehabbing his knees in New York City. Though his uniform was hung in his locker, Bynum did not make the trip to Philly to smile for the camera.
Without Bynum in the team picture it was as if he wasn’t even here at all.
Bynum, of course, hasn’t played a single game for the Sixers thanks to knee injuries which have sidelined him for the entire season.
It’s highly possible that Bynum may never suit up for the Philadelphia franchise, given that he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Bynum isn’t expected to give any special consideration to the SIxers when negotiating his next deal, and even if he did, the decision to bring him back for something resembling a max contract would be an extremely difficult one given Bynum’s injury history and the way things turned out in Philadelphia this season.