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NBA Free Agency: Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo pushed hard for J.R. Smith

This would have been less than ideal.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers-Championship Celebration Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers are attempting to build a winning culture. Bringing in a player who just won a championship sounds good on paper, but making a move for J.R. Smith at this juncture seems pretty nonsensical.

But that’s exactly what the team attempted, according to a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein:

Take this with a grain of salt — it’s entirely possible that Smith’s agency, Klutch Sports, used the threat of a separate, anonymous bidder to drive up the price of the deal — but this isn’t the type of player the Sixers should be in the mix for. It’s one thing to bring in veterans to push forward the program, and another to bring in a player on a (likely) big-money deal who has proven himself erratic when asked to be responsible.

I love watching J.R. from afar; he’s an entertaining player and a productive guy when he has his head on straight. The problem is that comes in fits and starts, and handing him a large-ish deal on a team with a significant power vacuum outside of the center position seems like a terrible idea. Unlike the Sixers’ alleged flirtation with Manu Ginobili in the offseason, this is not a match on any front other than fixing the shooting problem.

If the team pushed hard for Smith, is there a Plan B currently on the table? Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor have been on the shelf with ambiguous injury woes, perhaps because the team was waiting for another shoe to drop. We’ll have to wait to find out what exactly is going on, but this was a strange dispatch, even for a Friday night.