SALT LAKE CITY - It will be interesting to see how helpful NBA opponents will be in a few seasons when the 76ers are the team looking for favors.
That's because the franchise is a salary-dump station for teams trying to shed money. And in most instances, the trading partners won't have to worry about facing a discarded player who is determined to show up his former squad.
The Sixers could run an advertisement that reads: "Trade us your players. We'll keep them locked away until they no longer remember being traded."
OK, that may be a stretch. In most instances, the Sixers actually took on expiring contracts in exchange for assets.
But no matter the circumstances, the Sixers are paying $22.6 million of their about-$42 million payroll to players who aren't seeing action.
Jason Richardson ($6.6 million) and Joel Embiid ($4.4 million) are rehabilitating right-foot stress fractures. The franchise's highest-paid players have yet to play this season.
Andrei Kirilenko ($3.3 million) has yet to report since being acquired from the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 11. The Sixers waived Travis Outlaw ($3 million) shortly after getting him from the New York Knicks on Oct. 27.
Remember Eric Maynor? He's another notable player on the Sixers' payroll. The Sixers received the point guard in a trade with Washington in February, then cut him in March. Yet they are paying $2.1 million in this, the final year of his deal.
Ronny Turiaf ($1.5 million), Marquis Teague ($1.1 million), Pierre Jackson ($400,000), Chris Johnson ($113,000), Jarvis Varnado ($75,000), and Elliot Williams ($11,500) also are being paid despite being released by the team.
The Sixers aren't the only franchise paying players it has released. The Detroit Pistons did it Monday, when they waived Josh Smith and took a salary-cap hit despite owing him $26 million.
You'll have a hard time finding another franchise allocating as much money to players it doesn't want as the Sixers, but no one's complaining.
This is just another way for the Sixers to acquire future assets - by accruing salary-cap space. In most instances, they received second-round picks from trading partners for taking on these salaries.
All of the major contracts listed - except Embiid's deal - are expiring. As a result, the Sixers will have a lot of money at their disposal to go after free agents this summer.
You can look at their taking on these salaries as an investment. The money is being frozen during a season in which the Sixers are sacrificing wins to secure a top pick.
Come June, they'll have two first-round selections (one a lottery pick), four second-round selections, and a bunch of cap space.
Don't be surprised if the Sixers continue this strategy by acquiring more expiring salaries at the trade deadline in February.
We can at least expect general manager Sam Hinkie to receive phone calls from championship contenders who want to get rid of an expiring contract to make room for someone who could upgrade the roster.
Just don't get upset when the player never makes it to Philadelphia. Right now, paying players they don't want is the Sixers' way.
Pay to play?
Around half of the 76ers payroll is going to players who haven't played this year or were cut from the team.
Jason Richardson $6.6 million
Joel Embiid $4.4 million
Andrei Kirilenko $3.3 million
Travis Outlaw $3 million
Eric Maynor $2.1 million
Ronny Turiaf $1.5 million
Marquis Teague $1.1 million
Pierre Jackson $400,000
Chris Johnson $113,000
Jarvis Varnado $75,000
Elliot Williams $11,500
Total $22.6 million