The Philadelphia 76ers have the most cap space in the NBA to play with this summer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be making a big splash.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Sixers are telling agents they’re only planning on offering one-year deals to free agents in hopes of preserving future cap space.
The Sixers have told agents they will seek one-year deals this summer to preserve future space -- and possibly use some of their current room to extend Robert Covington. The one-year gambit will be a hard sell for high-profile guys. J.J. Redick didn't wait this long to sign a one-year deal at age 33.
As Lowe mentions, the Sixers’ offseason plans likely don’t jibe with what Los Angeles Clippers’ shooting guard J.J. Redick is looking for. The Sixers could try to offer him a deal similar to the one-year, $25 million contract they offered Jamal Crawford last summer, but at 33, Redick’s going to be looking for stability. There’s no saying another team won’t be willing to offer him a deal in the three-year, $60 million ballpark as well. The possibility of a partnership looks bleak at this point.
Frankly, this news from Lowe shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. General manager Bryan Colangelo handled the 2016 free agent period similarly by signing Gerald Henderson and Sergio Rodriguez to one-year contracts, and he recently admitted that the team would not splurge if he felt they were not in a place to add a big ticket free agent.
“I think ideally, we would like to not only have max flexibility now but maintain max flexibility next year when this group has a chance to grow together a little bit more and be more, perhaps, more ready to add a high-level free agent,” Colangelo said at a June 19 press conference to announce the pre-draft trade with Boston.
He later added, “If we’re just not ready, so be it; we can wait as long as we maintain that flexibility and that’s going to be the key objective in this whole thing.”
If Lowe’s report is true and Colangelo sticks to his word, then he’s employing a very commendable strategy. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz not only need at least a full season to blend, but the team is going to want to see how the rest of the roster fits around them as well. It doesn’t make sense to lock yourself into longterm deals for free agents when you’re not entirely sure what you have as in-house options. After this year, the Sixers should have a clearer picture of what their longterm needs are, and can act accordingly in the summer of 2018 if the right opportunity presents itself.
For the current time, they’ll need a small forward to backup Robert Covington, and perhaps another power forward behind Ben Simmons and Dario Saric. Those needs can certainly be addresses on one-year deals.
The spending spree can wait. What’s more important is allowing the young core the opportunity to grow amongst each other before seeking high-priced outside help.