| The Sixers missed out on the big prize, but shifted their focus towards refining what they have |
The most hyped free agency since the 76ers brought Dr. Julius Erving from the ABA was a bit of a letdown for the Philadelphia. Paul George re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder almost immediately. And unlike in past years, LeBron James didn’t take long to make his decision.
Shortly after the calendar turned over to July 1st, the Sixers had reason for optimism. They had scored at meeting with LeBron James…well, his representatives, at least. As it turned out, the meeting was a mere formality. The writing was on the wall; the meeting was held in Los Angeles, where LeBron ultimately wanted to be. In a way James’ decision also might lose the Sixers Kawhi Leonard. He is apparently insisting on being traded to LA to play with LeBron, but the Sixers remain interested. Kawhi is less likely to re-sign with Philadelphia since LeBron isn’t here, so any potential deal comes with enormous risk.
They may have missed the biggest prize this summer, but the Sixers still had a job in front of them; to improve the roster and build on their 52-win foundation. Part of that was retaining pieces that got them there, such as their free agent prize from one year ago, JJ Redick. He signed a one year deal on Monday, reportedly worth $13 million.
It’s another one year deal that maintains some flexibility for both parties. Redick was kind enough to give a discount this year after earning $23 million last year. And he presumably would have taken even less if the Sixers were able to sign LeBron or Paul George. Whether or not he wants to stay in Philadelphia past this season will come down to what free agency looks like next summer. Regardless, the Sixers brought back their best 3-point shooter and a big part of one of the most efficient 5 man units in basketball.
Redick is a good signing, and especially important because the Sixers lost some depth to other teams. Marco Belinelli returned to the San Antonio Spurs, and Ersan Ilyasova left for the Milwaukee Bucks. Poor playoff performances notwithstanding, the acquisition of those two players played a huge part in the team’s late season surge to the 3rd seed. Philadelphia’s bench was a disaster without them, and they need to replace their combined 24 points per game.
To replace some of that depth, the Sixers traded for Denver’s Wilson Chandler. Philadelphia only had to give cash considerations and also received a 2nd round pick and possible 2nd round pick swap with the Nuggets. Not bad for an expiring contract. Chanlder gives the Sixers a more capable wing off the bench. He’s a decent three point threat and capable defender, something the Sixers need with the departure of Ilyasova.
They still need a back up center for Joel Embiid, ideally one better than Amir Johnson. He was respectable last season, but was somewhat over-matched athletically. The Sixers reportedly have interest in Kyle O’Quinn for that role. There have also been rumblings of Jonah Bolden coming over, but he’s still under contract in Israel and was left off the team’s summer league roster. The Sixers have requested that he be allowed to play in the Las Vegas Summer League, which starts on July 6th.
The Sixers have just under $3 million in cap space left, although they can still offer a mid level exception of $4.49 million. They could create even more space by trading away Jerryd Bayless’ $8.5 million salary.