Getting Rid of the Dead Weight

This post was actually inspired by the student-athletes I tutor at Temple- summer session just started and I began to explain the concept of sunk costs. For them, I gave the example of Albert Haynesworth and his contract. But I realized how that applies to the Sixers too, and I decided to write about it today.

One example of sunk cost.

I feel like I might be beating a dead horse here, so I figured I’d finish up the recent contract talk with talking about the actual dead weight. I mentioned before that Elton Brand’s huge contract is the main reason why possible upgrades are limited. Well, that’s not exactly the case. Neither Brand nor Iguodala makes the maximum, meaning the team could, theoretically, fit another top-flight player under the salary cap. Since the team needs at least 13 guys, this is tough to pull off.

It’s not impossible, though. The Miami Heat proved that it could be done, utilizing every exception known to man under the salary cap. They also needed the players to consent taking less money as a whole. In other words, it will be nearly impossible to repeat and, given the market differences between Miami and Philadelphia, could never happen here.

Which is why fans complain about Brand and (especially) Iguodala being overpaid. But they don’t hold the team down. The flotsam sitting on the bench – the $16 million dollars of value – keeps the team from competing.

Another example of sunk cost.

Calling Jason Kapono and Darius Songaila flotsam might be generous given their production this year.

Combined, the two had 32 points this year in 182 minutes. That is, an average of slightly more than 8 points combined per 48 minutes played. Okay, so that stat tells us nothing specific about the players other than that they must, somehow, provide value outside of scoring. Anyway, in those 182 minutes they had 21 rebounds. So they don’t do that. Well, then, they must play defense! That’s it!

Not so fast – Songaila is an undersized 4 who tries hard but isn’t very good. But at least he tries hard. I’m not sure Kapono does, and if he did it wouldn’t matter. He’s so slow defensively he might as well be invisible.

Combined, these two made $11 million. And they will not return, barring something crazy.

Now, we still have one more useless piece of the pie that will (at least hopefully) reside on the bench next year: Andres Nocioni. Noce will make $6.5 million next year, which, as part of one of the front-loaded contracts the Bulls gave out around 5 years ago, is less than he made this year. He WAS able to shoot threes and he WAS an agitator defensively – but that time has passed. Now, he’s just another overpaid veteran, existing to get paid and sit at the end of the bench.

Combined with Kapono and Songaila, that’s about $18 million practically flushed down the toilet. The Sixers need to improve, and these sunk costs surely will not help.

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Tags: 76ers Andres Nocioni Contracts Darius Songaila Jason Kapono Sixers

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