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The Best Of The Rest: Three Potential Free Agents For The Sixers

Some potential final pieces to fill out the Sixers roster.

Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors - Game One Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers are currently sitting at the maximum allotment of players they are allowed to bring to training camp, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the team is done making roster moves. Jerami Grant and Nik Stauskas both performed poorly during their brief stint at Las Vegas Summer League, and could be losing grounds at their crowded positions. Philadelphia is expected to keep Kendall Marshall through his 2016-17 season guarantee date of September 2 before waiving him in hopes of using his $2 million salary to inch closer to the cap floor. The team also has no serious ties to training camp invitees James Webb III, Shawn Long, Brandon Paul, and now Cat Barber if better options come along.

At this point in the summer, the free agency pickings are rather slim, but Philadelphia has money to spend and the opportunity to find some quality pickups without breaking the bank. Three potential options:

SG Dion Waiters - Oklahoma City Thunder

I use the term “quality pickup” somewhat loosely in this situation, but if he’s willing to sign a two-year deal with a team option for the second season to come play in his hometown, you could probably talk me into it. He shot a career high 35.8 percent from three-point range last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and 38.1 percent in catch and shoot situations on over two attempts per game. If you take the ball out of his hands for the most part — and thanks to Ben Simmons, Sergio Rodriguez, Jerryd Bayless and T.J. McConnell he should never have to handle it to begin with — I think Waiters is a solid enough standstill shooter that he’ll contribute somewhat positively in limited touches. His defense is obviously the main question mark, but if you can get him to lock in like he did against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Playoffs, then everything else is gravy. I do struggle to see him bringing that tenacity and alertness over the majority of an 82 game season, however. Although he’s now an unrestricted free agent, the Brooklyn Nets seem to be showing a lot of interest after losing out on Allen Crabbe and Tyler Johnson. Getting into a bidding war at this point in the summer over Dion Waiters certainly is not ideal, and I imagine Bryan Colangelo would want no parts of that. Keith Pompey also alluded to the fact that a return home for the 24-year-old may not be the best environment for him, and that’s definitely a factor worth considering. Waiters signing with the Sixers is far from likely, but it would feel foolish to completely rule it out.

SF Moe Harkless - Portland Trail Blazers

You may recall Moe Harkless as the last first-round selection of the Doug Collins era Sixers 2012, and a throw in as part of the colossal Andrew Bynum three-team trade that landed him in Orlando. Harkless played two seasons with the Magic before being shipped to Portland for a 2020 second round pick. The 23-year-old has never come remotely close to breaking out, but he looked like a suitable backup small forward with the Blazers last year. His 47.4 percent shooting from the floor and true shooting percentage of 52.2 percent were both career bests for him despite his highest usage rate since his rookie season. At this point his career, the hopes of him becoming a passable three-point shooter are dim, but he is a true wing with some size that can defend other threes, and Philadelphia doesn’t have anyone like that outside of Robert Covington. The interest in him league wide seems so slim, so a one-year deal that’s a bit of an overpay could get the job done for the Sixers. I would be fond of making a move like this.

SG Gary Neal - Washington Wizards

Philadelphia already has a large pool of shooting guards on the roster, but they might have room for one more. Stauskas’s status with the team is obviously in question, Jerryd Bayless could very well see some time at the point in certain lineups, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is expected to spend time in the D-League at some point during his rookie season. Injuries have hampered the 30-year-old Neal over the past three years, but we have seen enough of him to know he’s an excellent three-point shooter. Neal’s defense is poor, which doesn’t make him that much different from a guy like Hollis Thompson, but the Sixers could use as many consistent perimeter threats as they can get. Neal would definitely be a cheap one.

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