Next season, the Philadephia 76ers are expected to be a very bad basketball team. Again. Yet, in a surprising move by Philly’s hard to please fanbase, some Sixers fans have accepted their plight, and are embracing the downturn that the organization is currently enduring. Why? Two words: Andrew Wiggins. Sixers fans believe purposefully tanking this season will result in a terrible record that will hopefully land them Wiggins, the Canadian sensation who’s considered the next LeBron James or Kevin Durant. From a dedicated #WinlessforWiggins twitter account, to exploring #WinlessforWiggins tshirts, and a five pronged #WinlessforWiggins plan specifically outlining surefire ways the Sixers can sabotage the season, the City of Brotherly Love is showing a spirited attempt at supporting its team despite a miserable season awaiting them. They’re even Facebook official with it.
Further fueling the fire that the coachless Sixers have no intentions of winning is the approach they’ve taken this offseason. Usually, NBA teams are so competitive, they’re willing to overpay for talent that pushes them way above the salary cap. The consequence to exceeding the salary cap is paying a luxury tax, which isn’t uncharted territory for most teams. However, rarely do we hear about teams who are well below the minimum salary, $52.8 million, set by the NBA. Yet, according to Hoopsworld, the Philadelphia 76ers fall into that category.
With Andrew Bynum signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Jrue Holiday being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans, the 76ers have a few open roster spots to fill. Combined, the team’s current salaries total $39.6 million, $13.2 million short of the minimum. The 76ers will eventually sign rookies Nerlens Noel and Michael-Carter Williams, but together their rookie contracts will only put the 76ers’ spending total at $45 million. Also, the Sixers may consider signing second round picks Arsalan Kazemi and Furkan Aldemir, but they’ll make $500,000 each, if that much. The Sixers still have a nice chunk of change to play with.
Between a 2014 rookie class that’s expected to be favorable and an appealing free agency class that stars LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, the 76ers seem poised to suffer through another season of rebuilding in exchange for better positioning next season. Philly has one of the toughest fanbases within sports. And generally speaking, most fans are shortsighted and crave immediate gratification, wondering why executives can’t build a team that’s competitive enough for today and tomorrow, but somehow the Sixers have managed to win over some of its fans. Although, if the Sixers fall short of landing Wiggins, Sixers’ fans might revolt against team execs, because after all, nothing is guaranteed. Just ask the Charlotte Bobcats.