Bryan Colangelo's sway with agents and league higher-ups was a major selling point for his hiring. While his track record in free agency and trades is mixed to say the least, the Sixers figured to at least be hunting the market this summer thanks both to desire and relationships.
If one report from Sporting News' Sean Deveney is to be believed, the Sixers standing around the league is already looking good. Incoming block text:
'I think the thought was something along the lines of, Don't hold your breath,' one prominent agent recalled to Sporting News recently. 'Maybe if you had a point guard playing overseas, you might try them. But obviously, they were not going to be players on the market.'
Player agents who shrugged off the Sixers as former general manager Sam Hinkie nursed the franchise through the slow-build movement, dubbed "The Process," now have new GM Bryan Colangelo on speed dial.
'By all indications, they're going to be aggressive, and I think once you get past that first tier of free agents, you are going to have a perfect storm in Philadelphia that is going to make players want to go there,' another agent told SN. 'Brett Brown is a good coach. They've got money. They've got playing time available. I mean, it couldn't be a more different situation than what we're used to.'
Philadelphia explored the possibility of working a trade for Minnesota's Ricky Rubio on draft night, though that would likely have to be a three-team deal in order to provide the Timberwolves with the kind of veteran help the Sixers lack. Rubio is expected to be available again this summer. The Sixers have also expressed interest with the Rockets in point guard Patrick Beverley, a source told Sporting News.
This is a drastic change from the Sixers' approach under Hinkie, of course, and not all denizens of Sixer-ville have been on board with Philadelphia's new direction. But for players and agents, it's a welcome change.
'I've got guys who tell me they want to going there,' the first agent told SN. 'I mean, excited to go there. It's a different approach.'
It's not exactly breaking news that pro athletes love mountains of money and playing time, but the Sixers appear to be moving in the right direction if polishing their image is a primary goal. In addition to the info contained above, Deveney doubled down on reports of Philly being interested in Dion Waiters and Allen Crabbe and added a couple more names to watch: Orlando's Evan Fournier and Los Angeles' Jordan Clarkson.
The Sixers have loudly stated their intent with players they've been connected to in recent days. While Harrison Barnes, Waiters and so forth aren't stars that will drastically change the fortunes of the team, they are players close to the top of the free-agent market this summer. Outside of a few notable exceptions -- Mike Conley and Hassan Whiteside, for example -- the Sixers appear to be mixing it up in a chase for the best of the rest.
That might be good or bad depending on what you think of those players, but it's clear Colangelo and the franchise are happy to at least be connected to some big names before the festivities really get going. Jimmy Butler was reported to have scheduled a meeting with Sam Hinkie's Sixers when he was bound for free agency last offseason, but aside from that exception the team has generally lurked in the shadows during free agency the past few years.
The 'Man of Action' still has to turn this interest into real signings -- productive ones at that -- but the franchise is no doubt exhilarated to be in the good graces of movers and shakers around the league.