• Jac Manuell

NBA Free Agency: Philadelphia 76ers Preview

What Happened Last Season:

Trust The Process. It’s been a long wait for Sixers fans but the franchise is finally seeing the seeds grow that were initially planted by former GM Sam Hinkie in 2013. The obvious shining light in the 2016/17 season was Joel Embiid. Embiid’s season was unfortunately cut short by injuries though in his short amount of time on court he made Philadelphia a force to be reckoned with. However, whether he can keep his body intact long enough to be a franchise player remains to be seen. Other bright spots included the form of international rookie Dario Saric. At time of print Saric is the leading candidate to take out this year’s Rookie of the Year Award, and if his Nigerian teammate doesn’t win it (which would be unprecedented) then Saric is certainly a worthy winner. His late season form when Embiid was out was sparkling, especially on the offensive end. The team may have lost Nerlens Noel to Dallas, (and Jahlil Okafor is somehow still wearing a Sixers uniform) though the form of unheralded players Robert Covington and T.J. McConnell certainly was nothing to sneeze at. They may have finished the season a lowly 28-54 (including an 8 game losing streak) though if the 76ers can somehow keep Embiid healthy and build around him and Simmons (and possibly Fultz or Jackson) then who’s to say they can’t proceed even further in 2018.

Upcoming Free Agents:

Unrestricted: Sergio Rodriguez, Tiago Splitter

Restricted: Alex Poythress

Cap Space:

Potential Cap Space: $24,803,891

Top Priorities:

It’s odd to say but there are now expectations surrounding this Philadelphia team. The medical team are going to be of utmost importance. They’ll certainly have their work cut out for them maintaining the health of star centre Joel Embiid. Bryan Colangelo will also be a key figurehead in figuring out the logjam that is the team’s roster. If they’re looking at adding quality through free agency and trade, then there is going to have to be some reshuffling. First thing would be getting rid of Jahlil Okafor at the soonest possible moment. He’s dead weight right now, though he could certainly add value to a competing team with his offensive skillset. The time for building is nearing its end, the foundation is there; it’s time for this franchise to finally get back to its winning ways.

Potential Targets:

Avery Bradley – This would make a lot of sense for both parties if Fultz were to be drafted by the Celtics. Bradley would provide the Sixers with some vital experience, floor spacing and lockdown defense. He’s become one of the elite two-way guards in the NBA and partnered alongside Simmons and Embiid the two-way play this team could provide would be scary. While Bradley boasts plenty of on court experience he’s still only 26 years of age and would fit perfectly into the Sixers youthful locker room. Bradley is a contracted player so this would have to be a deal done via trade, though with a plethora of guards in Smart, Brown and Thomas, it’s a transaction that would benefit both teams.

Kyle Lowry – From a purely roster based standpoint targeting the Philadelphia native makes a whole lot of sense. He’d bring some much needed scoring to the backcourt as well as an old-head with playoff experience that this team so severely lacks. Whether Bryan Colangelo sees Lowry fitting into the Sixers timeline remains to be seen. Lowry himself has also expressed the desire to win a ring in his remaining years in the league (Lowry is 31 years of age). If the Sixers end up drafting Fultz, Lowry obviously makes no sense at all, though that deal is far from set in stone. (Updated the Sixers and Celtics is complete)

Terrence Ross – The high-flying small forward would fit in seamlessly on this roster either as a serviceable starter easing the scoring and shooting load off Ben Simmons. Or even as a super sub where his three point shooting ability would be just as useful. He’s also on a very manageable contract (3 year / $31,500,000) which expires in 2019. There’s not a lot of risk involved here for the Sixers, it’d definitely be taking a punt on someone of Ross’ ilk.

J.J. Reddick - Reddick would be a perfect fit on this Sixers team. Not only would he provide them with much needed floor spacing, but he would provide them with a much needed veteran presence. The Sixer have already been rumored to have interest in Reddick. so this could be a real possibility.

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