76ers Free Agency Preview
As we enter the month of August, a month filled with NFL training camp and preseason, nothing is more important than the start of NBA free agency. In just a couple hours, the 76ers free agency will begin. With how the off-season has already gone for the Sixers, this free agency will surely be nothing but calm.
Before we delve into the 76ers free agency targets, let’s make sure to break down the Sixers cap space situation. Like a majority of teams in the NBA, the 76ers enter the 2021-22 free agency over the cap. Currently, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris all carry 30+ million cap hits due to their max contracts. Outside of the big three, George Hill carries a 10 million dollar cap hit, and Seth Curry’s very team friendly deal only hits the Sixers for 8 million. Throw in the rookie deals on Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, Tyrese Maxey, Isiah Joe, and Paul Reed, and the Sixers land about 12 million over the cap according to Spotrac.
Even with all of those players locked down ahead of 76ers free agency, there are a fair amount of former Sixers set to be free agents. The big name is Danny Green, who carried a 19 million dollar cap hit last season. While Green certainly isn’t worth that much anymore, a veteran shooter who’s a proven winner will garner suitors. Other names include fan favorite Dwight Howard who played on a veteran minimum contract last season, the Turkish sharpshooter Furkan Korkmaz, and Mike Scott.
If Philly doesn’t resign any impending FA’s in the 76ers free agency, they’d be over the cap, but under the luxury tax. The 2021-22 NBA season bankroll is capped at 112 million, but the luxury tax threshold is 136 million. That does give the Sixers some room to play with if ownership is willing to pay a bit extra.
Going into 76ers free agency there are certainly a couple of intriguing names. The Sixers biggest need is help in the backcourt. Guys like Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry head the free agent market at point guard, but carry a steep asking price. The bottom line is, if the Sixers want to get a guy to insert in the starting lineup, it has to come via trade. A move surrounding Ben Simmons for an “All-Star caliber player” has been linked for weeks, and is likely the only way Philly gets the backcourt help in the starting lineup they need.
Where the 76ers free agency should be focused outside of a Ben Simmons trade is in bench depth. If Philly doesn’t resign any impending FA’s, the Sixers will certainly be in the market for a backup power forward, some shooting depth, and even a backup center.
One interesting name for 76ers free agency is Patty Mills. The veteran is coming off one of his most productive seasons on a lack-luster Spurs team averaging a solid 11 points and 3 assists playing 25 minutes a game last season. Mills is a veteran guard who has no problem handling backup point guard duties, and his career 39 percent three point shooting only sweetens the deal. Even now, Patty Mills is at the Olympics playing with Sixers forward Matisse Thybulle, who we only hope is doing some recruiting.
For small forward, the 76ers also have a couple of cheaper names I’d like to see them target. Recently, NBA Champion Bobby Portis declined his player option with the Bucks after his stellar performance off the bench in the NBA Finals. Portis is coming off undeniably his best season in the league, averaging 11 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
Finally, a player I would love to see Morey target in 76ers free agency is Kelly Olynyk. I believe Olynyk would be a perfect fit as a backup for Tobias Harris, and could also come in to play center in place of Embiid if needed. Olynyk made the most of his time last season after being flipped to the tanking Houston Rockets, averaging 19 points and 8.5 rebounds a game in limited starts. Olynyk certainly has the size of a center, but what really makes him a great target for the Sixers was his shooting in Houston. Olynyk shot from deep at a 39 percent clip, showing he can be flexed at either power forward or center.
There’s no denying it, this 76ers free agency is going to be crazy and unpredictable. There are truly no protected players on this team outside Joel Embiid with Daryl Morey at the helm. While we have no idea what the Sixers squad will look like come October, there are a couple guys on the market that could certainly make this team better, and I expect Morey to go and grab.
Mandatory Credit: Darren Abate.