By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)
In what’s likely a combination of the most-closely-watched and least-consequential waiver claim we’ll come across for quite some time, NBA teams are on the clock after Anthony Bennett and Minnesota officially reached a buyout agreement yesterday.
Sam Amico had reported earlier in the day that the Blazers, Magic, and Sixers were all reportedly interested in Bennett should the buyout agreement occur. The Blazers make a lot of sense as a landing spot for Bennett, as Canada’s national team head coach, Jay Triano, is currently an assistant coach with Portland. The Blazers are currently in the midst of a rebuild around Damian Lillard after losing LaMarcus Aldridge, Wes Matthews, and Robin Lopez to free agency, as well as trading away Nic Batum for the unproven Noah Vonleh. Like in Philadelphia, ‘buying low’ on a young talent makes sense organizationally.
However, the Blazers’ interest is irrelevant should the Sixers want Bennett, as, like some of your hometown fantasy football leagues, waiver rules stipulate that the team with the worse record has a higher waiver priority. In case you were asleep at the wheel the last 12 months, the Sixers finished a full 33 games worse than Portland last season. If they want Bennett, he is theirs.
I discussed some of the pros and cons of the Sixers acquiring Bennett yesterday, but one thing I’ll add is the opportunity cost of taking on his salary. Philadelphia has used its cap space in the past couple years to pick up a first-round pick by absorbing JaVale McGee’s contract, and receive the bounty of goodies from Sacramento to pay Carl Landry and Jason Thompson, to name a couple examples. Having Bennett’s contract on the books would limit those options going forward, so that’s another thing Sixers management will need to consider.
Given that teams have a full 48 hours to make a waiver claim, we’ll likely know at some point late tomorrow where Anthony Bennett will be playing this upcoming season. It probably will not ultimately matter, but it makes for some intriguing NBA drama for late September.