What can we expect from Daryl Morey and the 76ers as NBA Free Agency kicks off on Thursday night?
Will the Sixers’ president of basketball operations immediately do something to address one of the team’s shortcomings? Or does it take some time to get something done?
By trading Danny Green’s unguaranteed contract and the No. 23 roster in last week’s draft for versatile guard De’Anthony Melton, the Sixers were able to upgrade their bench, but they’ll need a fifth starter, plus other viable ones. reserves, and have limited ways to acquire them.
By beating defensive wing Matisse Thybulle and/or forward Tobias Harris, Morey and the Sixers could add players to help them out, though it seems unlikely that an impact performer like Bradley Beal of the Wizards or the Rockets’ Eric Gordon would be unlikely. is.
As for the chances of signing rugged Heat, 37-year-old power forward PJ Tucker, a favorite of franchise center Joel Embiid, I’m told the Sixers have no intention of dumping paychecks by bartering a player or players for future draft picks to make it work. That would mean either Tucker would have to be willing to take less than the three-year, $32 million non-taxpayer middle exemption he could potentially get from Philadelphia, or James Harden will take his $47.4 million player option for 2022-23. turn down Wednesday’s deadline and sign for less ($40 million in season one?) to make it happen.
Another scenario to make room for Tucker could be that he deals Harris and takes back, say, $5 million less next year than his $37.6 million salary. Using the non-taxpayer MLE would require the Sixers to keep their payroll under the $155.7 million luxury tax apron for 2022-23.
The 6-foot-8 Nicolas Batum, who turned down his $3.3 million option with the Clippers, would be a good fit as a 3-and-D wing, having converted .402 of his three-pointers over the past two seasons. The Sixers may not be able to land him with the $6.3 million taxpayer center cut if they don’t use the non-taxpayer MLE, as the Clippers and other clubs are interested in him.
More work to do: Sixers, Daryl Morey still have off-season options to improve
Otto Porter Jr. of the Warriors would be another potential target, excluding the $6.3 million taxpayer. A combo ahead, Porter hit .370 of his 3s last season. While Porter would no doubt want to stay with NBA champion Golden State, league rules prevent him from making more than $2.88 million there.
Nuggets’ wing Will Barton has been associated with the Sixers in the past and would look good as the fifth starter. He averaged 14.7 points and made .365 from his three-pointers last year. The problem is, he will make $14.4 million next season, so matching salaries would be difficult given that the Sixers had already included Green in the Melton movement.
Another wing, Magic free agent Gary Harris, would be an improvement as fifth starter. Harris, who averaged 11.1 points last year and shot .384 out of the 3-point range, signed the $6.3 million taxpayer MLE could be challenging after bringing in $20.5 million in 2021-22 .
Nets’ wing Bruce Brown would bring much-needed toughness and the ability to defend multiple positions after averaging career highs in 3-point shooting (.404) and points (9) last season, though he probably wouldn’t sign for the veterans’ minimum and it would cost the $6.3 million taxpayers MLE to get it.
Pacers’ small forward, TJ Warren, appeared to be a rising star before injuries to his left foot limited him to four games early in the 2020-21 season and kept him sidelined throughout the 2021-22 season. Although he made $12.7 million last year, he might be willing to take the taxpayer’s $6.3 million MLE in hopes of showing he deserves a longer deal with more money.
There are a lot of guys who can help the Sixers. It’s up to Morey to determine which moves would give the Sixers the best chance of finally making it past the second round of the playoffs.
Tom Moore: [email protected]; @TomMoorePhilly
This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Philadelphia 76ers: Here’s What To Do In NBA Free Agency