Free Agency Back Ups For The 76ers
Free agency has been on the mind of the 76ers after being eliminated by the Boston Celtics almost a week ago. Recent reports have indicated that the Sixers will heavily pursue LeBron James during this summer’s free agency.
In the case that Philadelphia does not land King James, they will try to sign Paul George or Kawhi Leonard. Now, these signings would be great but what should Sixers management do if none of these fall through? After drafting Joel Embiid in 2014 with the 3rd overall pick the 76ers started to embody the concept of “Trust the Process”. After a disappointing (4-1) series loss against the Celtics, expectations have skyrocketed. (Rightfully So). But what happened to “Trusting the Process”. Don’t get me wrong the 76ers should try to sign one of the big free agents this summer. However, I think that the Sixers can win without adding James, Leonard or George.
— theScore (@theScore) May 14, 2018
Free Agency Plan B
If you think about the Eastern Conference the only threat the Sixers will face next year is the Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers and possibly the Cleveland Cavaliers if King James stays. I am not saying that this young 76ers team will have a cake walk but they have enough to get to the conference finals. With that being said there are some overlooked free agents that Philadelphia could sign in case they don’t land a big free agent this summer.
Isaiah Thomas Could Use Some Brotherly Love:
The last year for Isaiah Thomas has been interesting, to say the least. In case you forgot Thomas led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals in the 2017 playoffs. The 5-foot-9 guard would leave the series after suffering a hip injury. Last summer former Cavs guard Kyrie Irving requested a trade. Uncle Drew would be traded to Boston in exchange for Thomas.
Thomas would make his Cavaliers/season debut January 1, 2018, after sitting out for most of the season. At first, the trade seemed to work out for both sides until the former Celtic began to struggle and voice his concerns. Before the trade deadline, the left-handed guard would find himself in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey.
I understand for the City of Brotherly Love this signing may not make sense. But consider the fact that Thomas is a high volume shooter. The former Washington Huskie is not an ideal point-guard and can score on or off the ball. Adding the 29-year-old guard would be great for Simmons and Embiid because of his ability to shoot the three ball. In addition to his outside shooting, the 2-time NBA All-Star can attack the rim, space the floor and score in spurts. I.T. could also be the closer that the team needs.
Philadelphia should only consider signing Thomas if his hip is .100 percent healthy. If healthy this could be an ideal signing for the 76ers considering that they would not have to pay the max due to his subpar performance this season. The only issue with signing the former Cavalier is his inability to play defense. Defense is something that the Sixers pride themselves on but the fact that you have Embiid in the post could save Thomas. The 76ers size and length could help hide Thomas on the defensive end like Head Coach Brad Stevens did in Boston.
Welcome Home Tyreke Evans
Tyreke Evans finished the 2017-18 season averaging 19.4 points, 5.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. The eight-year veteran was a bright spot for the Memphis Grizzlies who had an awful season. (Should not have fired coach Fizdale) Evans only played 52 games this season but caught the eyes of some general managers causing them to inquire about his availability.
Free agency can get kind of hectic but make no mistake Evans will draw some attention this summer. Philly should consider signing him because of his size and ability to score. At 6-foot-6 the Pennsylvania native can handle the ball, play pick and roll and rebound. The 28-year-old could be the starting shooting guard for the 76ers. Signing Evans would add length and height to the Sixers lineup. This signing would benefit Simmons because it would add a wing player who can create for himself or catch and shoot.
Evans could benefit from a change of scenery by joining a winning environment. Since being drafted in 2009 the former Sacramento King has only appeared in the playoffs one time with the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2014-15 season. If the former Pelican can remain healthy this could be a great sign for the Sixers.
— Tyreke Evans (@TyrekeEvans) January 18, 2018
Operation Resign J.J. Redick
General manager and President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo should put J.J. Redick at the top of his priority list. Redick was arguably the most consistent player on the team this season. In the first round of the playoffs, the former Duke Blue Devil averaged 20 points per game. The 6-foot-4 guard does a great job of getting open, moving without the ball and playing team defense.
Last summer the 76ers signed the 33-year-old guard to a one year deal. Redick provides a veteran presence and it seems that he has embodied the city of Philadelphia. Resigning the 11-year veteran would provide the team with a solid shooter, role player, and durability. This season the 2006 draft pick averaged 17.1 points, 3.0 assists, and 2.5 rebounds while shooting .460 percent from the field.
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) May 13, 2018
Embracing Marcus Smart
Sixers’ management should really consider signing Marcus Smart. Yes, smart may have helped eliminate the 76ers from the playoffs. However, Celtics General Manager and President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge has made it clear that the organization does not plan on resigning Smart. The Boston guard will be sought after this free agency.
Smart’s numbers may not jump out at you but it’s what he does on the court that catches your attention. At the age of 24, the guard does a great job of reading defensive coverages and making smart late-game decisions. (No pun intended). Now 76ers fans may ask how the 6-foot-4 guard would fit in next season. The answer is simple he could either come off the bench or start.
Like Redick, Smart can be effective without the ball in his hands. The former Oklahoma State star can set screens, shoot the three and handle the ball. The 2014 draft pick has playoff experience and can play multiple roles. This signing may not happen but it could be a reward for the Sixers if they take the chance. Let’s not forget the Celtic guard is an exceptional defender both on and off the ball. This season Smart averaged 10.2 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds.
— Blog Engage (@blogengage) May 11, 2018
Some of these free agents may not be on your summer Christmas list but there is a possibility that more than one can be signed. It’s always smart to consider the two for one theory.
What do you think the 76ers should do during free agency?
Featured photo; Take News via Flickr.
All stats for this article are from stats.nba.com.