PHILADELPHIA – Bye-bye, Elton Brand. See you later, Lou Williams.
The 76ers turned a mundane offseason into monumental by jettisoning their leading scorers from each of the last two seasons and clearing needed space in the salary cap to potentially set up a bigger move.
With fans worried a surprising run to the Eastern Conference semifinals might cloud management’s view of the stale roster, team president Rod Thorn made a pair of bold moves Friday that showed the team believed changes were needed for the franchise to grow.
Step one meant saying goodbye to Brand.
Thorn said the Sixers have decided to use the amnesty clause on Brand and will get about $18 million in salary cap relief for next season. The amnesty clause allows a team to waive one player during the new labor deal and have 100 percent of his salary taken off the cap and the tax.
Brand was entering the final season of an $80 million, five-year contract. Brand is still owed the $18.1 million on the final year of his deal. Teams under the salary cap can now bid for Brand’s services for next season and the veteran forward is expected to be in demand by a contender.
With money to spend, the Sixers agreed Friday to a one-year contract with guard Nick Young. Young’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, told the AP that the deal is for one season in the $6 million range. Deals cannot be signed until Wednesday.
Young spent his first four-plus seasons with the Washington Wizards before he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in March. He’s averaged 11.4 points over his career.
The versatile swingman is slotted – for now – to replace guard Williams, who opted out of the final year of his contract that was worth $6.4 million.
Young’s arrival signaled the end of Williams’ run. He averaged 11.3 points over a seven-year career with the Sixers and led them in scoring last season with 14.9 ppg.