The Sixers are entering the offseason with a multitude of questions. Roster construction was one of the main reasons for their defeat against the Miami Heat. Heading into this offseason, the Sixers’ brass wouldn’t address too much of what they’ll be looking for this summer. They did bring up the defensive end of the ball and getting mentally tough players.
Today we’ll be diving into eight players that should be on the Sixers’ radar. Some are more realistic than others, but here are a few free agents and trade targets:
Trade: Utah’s Royce O’Neale
O’Neale has put together a successful career out West after going undrafted in 2015. He’s developed into a capable 3-and-D talent, and started every game for the Utah Jazz for the past two seasons. He’s a more-than-capable shooter, coming off a career shooting season as 38.9 percent from three on four attempts per game.
So why would Utah even trade him? Most reports point to them shaking up the roster around Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that teams expect them to shop around O’Neale and Bojan Bogdanovic.
The Sixers should absolutely be inquiring about O’Neale if they aren’t already. He’d slot in perfectly next to the backcourt of Tyrese Maxey and James Harden. He has good size, plays within his role, and is willing to shoot open shots. Not to mention, he’s on an extremely team-friendly deal at roughly $18 million over the next two years.
One player Utah might be interested in is Matisse Thybulle. Defense is ultimately what sank their team this season. While Thybulle is an enigma offensively, he’d help Utah’s perimeter defense immensely. The Sixers would also need to add in another salary for matching purposes, which could be done with Furkan Korkmaz or Danny Green.
Free Agent: Gary Harris
A lot of Sixers fans eyeballed Gary Harris post-trade deadline, as most expected him to be bought out. That, as we all know, didn’t happen. Now Harris finds himself as a free agent coming off of a quietly productive season. Orlando is at the forefront of their rebuild, and I think it’s safe to say that he probably won’t be returning.
Harris would provide the Sixers a capable two-way talent. He’s rediscovered his shot, and is coming off a 38.4 percent shooting season from three on five attempts per game. Is some of that just being on a bad team? Maybe. But all he would have to do offensively in Philly would be taking and making threes.
There are question marks surrounding Harris’ long-term health and offensive production. While those are valid I’d argue that a healthy Harris is a very capable player, and could end up being a steal of a signing in the right situation. Just look how Otto Porter flourished with the Golden State Warriors.
Trade: Portland’s Josh Hart
Josh Hart is coming off a career season, where he played stellar basketball for both New Orleans and Portland. He’s also on a very team-friendly contract that is structured in a unique manner. So, why would Portland even think about moving him?
A huge factor in Portland’s decision-making this past season was opening salary cap space for this summer, where they’re rumored to be eying some big moves. Brian Windhorst even hinted about free agent Zach LaVine, who is from the region. Restricted free agent DeAndre Ayton has also been linked to them. Whether it’s through trade or a signing, the Blazers might have to open some salary cap space fast — and they can do that with Hart.
Hart is on a non-guaranteed deal, but they wouldn’t need to waive him. Teams would be lining up if he was made available. Hart would bring some much-needed versatility to the Sixers’ rotation, and he shines as a rebounder — an area where the Sixers were downright awful. He’s arguably the best rebounding guard in the league.
Hart would likely be expensive asset wise to get, but I’d argue he’s worth it. The Sixers need two-way talent and Hart is the epitome of that.
Free agent: Tyus Jones
Jones has developed into one of, if not the best backup point guards in the NBA. He’s an analytics darling and has stepped up every single time Ja Morant has been out with injury. He’s the definition of a solid, good modern point guard. He’ll be due for a very good payday this summer.
The only way I could see the Sixers landing Jones would be through means of a sign-and-trade or using their entire non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception (if they even have it in the first place). There will be a massive market for Jones, and they’ll have to offer something competitive to even be in the running for him.
Having a backup like Jones behind Harden and Maxey would be a huge luxury. He’d easily be the Sixers’ second-best playmaker behind Harden. The only question marks that would arise behind a Jones-to-Philly movement would be the amount of money/assets it would take to land him. The Sixers are limited in what they can do financially. Should they use their biggest financial asset on another guard? I’ll let you be the judge.
(Restricted) Free agent: Donte DiVincenzo
The former Villanova star is due for his first (restricted) free agency ever, and there are question marks surrounding him and his situation.
DiVincenzo shined with the Milwaukee Bucks, eventually developing into their starting two guard. A nagging ankle injury derailed his career there, and he was shipped to the Sacramento Kings. Since then, he’s averaged 10.3 points per game on lackluster shooting at best. He’s also reportedly fed up with the Kings, due to inconsistent playing time before his free-agency period.
DiVincenzo’s time in Sacramento already seems over, and the Sixers should eyeball him and his situation throughout the summer. Would I throw a ton of assets at the Kings to get him? Probably not. But the Sixers should take a chance on him if the opportunity arises. Out of all the players on this list he’d probably be the cheapest to acquire asset-wise. He was extremely solid in Milwaukee when healthy. The Sixers could benefit from having a capable shooter and playmaker like him around.
Plus, don’t we all just want a Villanova guy on the Sixers?
(Restricted) Free agent: Cody Martin
Charlotte’s swingman is coming off of a career season, averaging a respectable 7.7 points per game while shooting 38.4 percent from three. He’s seen the most action yet in his third year and was a major part of the Hornet’s rotation.
Why would the Hornets move off their key energy player? They’re already an expensive team, and that’s not even factoring Miles Bridges’ hefty extension looming in the near future. It’s hard to see the Hornets plunging deep into the luxury tax for Martin if they pay Bridges and retain Hayward.
Martin would fit like a glove in Philly. He’s a capable defender and lengthy body that won’t get played off the floor offensively. He’s hit threes at a high-enough rate and also has slashing abilities on and off the ball when/if he gets chased off the three-point line. The Sixers need to stock up on two-way guys, which is exactly what Martin has developed into.
Free agent: Bruce Brown
Bruce Brown was one of the brightest lights in what was a horrid season for the Brooklyn Nets. He averaged a career-high in points, assists, blocks, and three-point percentage. While 40-plus percent seems impressive for a defensive-minded player such as Brown it was on low volume (1.3 attempts per game).
Brown isn’t a sharpshooter compared to most guys on this list, but he also isn’t unplayable on offense. He shined next to James Harden during his limited time there through the pick-and-roll game.
What’s to say Brown and Harden wouldn’t share that same success again in Philly? Brown will be getting some huge contract offers, and it’s fair to say that he could quickly get priced out of what Brooklyn is willing to offer him. They do own his Bird rights, but are already on the books for $157 million in salary if Kyrie Irving opts in or signs a max deal — meaning they’d have to go pretty deep in the luxury tax to retain him.
Trade: Cameron Johnson
It wasn’t too long ago that Sixers twitter was debating between Johnson and Thybulle for their 2018 draft pick. The Sixers never had an opportunity to draft him, however, as the Suns traded back and took him 12th overall in somewhat shocking fashion.
Since then, Johnson has shined in Phoenix’s rotation. He’s a lengthy, big-bodied wing that can knock down threes at a high rate. He’s improved so much that he was even in the running for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award. Johnson would provide the Sixers with a knockdown shooter in the starting lineup. He averaged an impressive 42.5 percent from deep on 5.9 attempts per game.
Why would Phoenix even think about trading a player like him? The Suns’ salary cap is already expensive and it’s likely that they’ll have to make some cost-cutting decisions. Retaining Ayton while extending Johnson and keeping the rest of the roster together is nearly impossible. We are talking about Robert Sarver here, who is known to make cost-cutting decisions with winning teams.
Also, look at the rest of the Suns’ roster. They’re loaded with wings: Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, and Torrey Craig. The Suns’ center rotation is Ayton, an older JaVale McGee, and a Dario Saric who missed a season. What’s looking like the bigger priority?
It’s still a long shot to even consider Johnson being available, but the Sixers should be calling about him if they aren’t already.
All of these players would provide immense value to the Sixers, who desperately lacked athleticism, defense and rebounding this year. I’d expect Daryl Morey to do his due diligence with these listed players and more over the next few months.