The Philadelphia 76ers lost in a rather unspectacular five games to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals to end their 2017-18 season. The 76ers had a great season sporting two of the NBA’s top young talents in Simmons and Embiid. In addition to the young talent the 76ers have, they are in a unique position in that they will ALSO have plenty of potential cap space to work with. Here are all of the upcoming free agents for the 76ers this season…
JJ Redick ($23M)
Amir Johnson ($11M)
Marco Belinelli ($776,217)
Ersan Ilyasova ($502,328)
I can foresee three different routes for the 76ers this upcoming offseason and have categorized them as Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C.
Plan A: Sign LeBron James
The 76ers, and city of Philadelphia, have made it no secret that they want the King to make the city of brotherly love his next home. In order to do this, the 76ers basically have to kiss all of the free agents listed above goodbye and hope that LeBron feels he can still win in Philly. I have personally made it clear that I have my doubts that Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and LeBron James could work. This is based on the fact that Simmons is extremely limited outside of the paint, Embiid is still developing an outside shot, and LeBron James tends to be the guy that has to have the offense flow through him, which is something he and Simmons have in common. If LeBron were to sign in Philly, the 76ers may look to trade the 10th overall pick to move back into the first round so they could have multiple first rounds to try to fill out depth on the roster.
Plan B: Either sign Paul George or trade for Kawhi Leonard
If the 76ers can’t acquire LeBron James, there are still a couple of options they have that they could take. Signing Paul George would give the 76ers a 3-point threat to replace Redick if he can’t be resigned. George could also help bolster the 76ers defense on the perimeter, which struggled at times this season. The 76ers could also try to pull off a trade for Kawhi Leonard in a deal that could feature Robert Covington, the 10th overall pick, and maybe the 26th overall pick, or another player. Leonard still has multiple years on his contract and a player option for 2019-20, but would need to be signed to an extension in order for this trade to make sense for the 76ers.
The biggest issue for the 76ers going forward will be managing salaries for players. Embiid made just over $6 million this season, but as a result of his extension, he is set to make close to $25 million next season. If the 76ers go all in on Paul George, or LeBron for that matter, they will struggle to keep key players like Dario Saric and T.J. McConnell. The 76ers would probably benefit more by trading for Kawhi Leonard because, at the very least, they could rid themselves of Covington’s contract (which isn’t bad!) and have more flexibility down the road when it comes time to re-sign Saric and/or McConnell.
Plan C: Re-sign Redick and move up in the draft
Redick provided consistent, and often times clutch, shooting during the regular season and playoffs. He will be 34 entering next season, so if all else fails, the 76ers may try to sign him for two years with a team option for the third year. They’d do this so if Redick’s shooting declines as his age increases, the Sixers will have had him for the better part of the end of his prime. As for moving up in the draft, I could see the Sixers trading the 10th and 26th overall picks to try to move up a few spots in the draft. Trading with the Cleveland Cavaliers would make the most sense in this situation, because Cleveland will be trying to keep their team alive after the departure of LeBron James, and the allure of the 10th and 26th overall picks for the 8th overall pick would allow them more assets to build around. With 8th overall pick, the 76ers could then select Mikal Bridgers, who instantly adds depth to the small forward position to the 76ers; the position where they are weakest. With another year of NBA playoff experience under both Simmons’ and Embiid’s belts, the 76ers could attack the new season with renewed depth and experience.
What do you think the 76ers will do this offseason?
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