Capitals

Bynum sits, Iguodala awaits in 76ers' opener

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Bynum sits, Iguodala awaits in 76ers' opener

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bynum will forever be linked in the same transaction.

The All-Stars weren't traded straight up - yes, it took four teams, 10 other players, and five draft picks to move Iguodala from Philadelphia to Denver and Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers to the 76ers - but in Philly, the trade is viewed through a one-for-one prism.

Without a game played, Sixers fans say their team came out on top.

While Bynum remains indefinitely sidelined with a bone bruise in his right knee, the Sixers faithful would have traded Iguodala for some warm bodies to fill the training camp roster.

Credit general manager Tony DiLeo and team president Rod Thorn for getting so much more for Iguodala, a player who had come to represent the mediocrity that plagued the Sixers until last season's surprising run to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Iguodala was a solid player for nine seasons with the Sixers, playing a full 82 games in five of them, and was easily their top perimeter defender. He was one of the flashier dunkers in the league and his long road toward stardom was rewarded last season with his first All-Star berth and a gold medal in London playing for the star-studded U.S. men's team.

He was just never fully embraced by Philly fans.

His biggest moment came last season after Iguodala sank the winning free throws with 2.2 seconds left in a 79-78 victory over the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in Game 6, helping them advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Iguodala hopped on the scorer's table and played to the crowd as the catchy 76ers' anthem blared in the arena.

The fans went wild and, for a moment, he was the most popular athlete in Philly.

It's the highlight the Sixers will surely play in a video tribute to Iguodala before the Nuggets open the season at Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

The video might be the only reason almost 20,000 fans don't boo him out of the building.

Iguodala criticized the way coach Doug Collins handled him and said he didn't enjoy basketball most of the last two seasons. He told CBSSports.com his enthusiasm from last season was dampened because he found criticism ``draining.''

Well, that won't endear him to anyone in his return to Philadelphia. Not that he cares.

``I really haven't thought about it,'' Iguodala said.

Asked in Denver if he hoped he'd be cheered, Iguodala said, ``I really don't care. It's just basketball.''

Collins, starting his third season coaching the 76ers, took the high road discussing Iguodala.

``He left on a very high note, which is the thing I'm very happy about,'' Collins said. ``The two years that I was here, what we did, he was such a huge part of it. I'm sure Dre's going to want to come in here and win.''

Iguodala's return will be overshadowed by Bynum's absence.

The 25-year-old Bynum will sit out the opener as he recovers from the bone bruise that has plagued him since before the start of training camp. Bynum was held out of all preseason activity and the Sixers ran their offense without him, instead of through him, for the last month.

Bynum told the Sixers he could play with the pain he's feeling. The Sixers are being cautious with Bynum and refuse to rush him back. They'd rather have the services of the center considered the best in the East for the long haul instead of a few games, or even a few weeks, at the start of the season.

Bynum is coming off his best NBA season after averaging career highs with 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds while making his first All-Star team, starting for the West. He was the NBA's third-leading rebounder and 20th-leading scorer, while also ranking sixth in the league with 1.93 blocked shots per game.

``I know one thing, I know he wants to play right now,'' Collins said. ``We have to really be smart in all the things we do in help him monitor that situation. Sometimes, an athlete's competitive heart can get the best of him.''

The Sixers said Tuesday that Bynum has started low-impact conditioning work, and will be re-evaluated by medical personnel on a continuous basis. Bynum shot 3-pointers while his teammates egged him on following a late practice at the Wells Fargo Center.

``He's feeling a lot better and his spirits are better,'' Collins said Tuesday. ``That's all positive stuff.''

Collins said power forward Thaddeus Young and center Lavoy Allen will start.

They're a nice duo for sure, but the Sixers aren't an Atlantic Division contender without Bynum.

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Follow Dan Gelston on Twitter:http://twitter.com/APgelston

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

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Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

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Associated Press

Need to Know: A closer look at Alex Smith's contract with the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 26, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Contract makes Alex Smith a Redskins for at least three seasons

This post was originally published on March 19. 

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details. 

Until now. 

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. 

Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer). 

But there I another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million. 

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith but since we have no details we’ll set those aside for now. 

The cap hits on the contract are as follows: 

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022. 

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler