The Philadelphia 76ers have a lot to do in the coming weeks if they want to make some significant additions to become a challenger for an NBA title next season. With MVP candidate Joel Embiid as the centerpiece of the roster, Daryl Morey needs to add some depth this offseason if he wants the Sixers to get past the second round of the NBA playoffs.
Morey acquired James Harden at the trade deadline knowing the perennial All-Star will be up for an extension this offseason. Now, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Harden will likely opt into this $47.4 million player option for next season and sign on for two more years after that.
Here's what Woj said on SC:— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) June 22, 2022
"James Harden is headed toward opting in to that 47 million player option, and then extending by perhaps as many as two more years, at a significant number with the Sixers. Likely something short of a max contract, but still a significant commitment"
In the latest episode of Sixers Daily, Bryan Toporek — who covers the Sixers for Forbes — joins Jas Kang to discuss the impact of Harden’s decision on Philly’s offseason. By opting into his player option, Harden’s contract next season impacts the Sixers’ ability to add some veteran pieces through free agency. One player Philly has been linked to is P.J. Tucker, who could be offered a three-year deal worth roughly $30 million.
Toporek is compiling his list of potential free-agent targets for the Sixers if they have their non-taxpayer midlevel exception.
“He (Tucker) is on the list because it seemed pretty clear that given Embiid’s comments after the playoffs like he wanted, not only that archetype but PJ Exactly. So he might get his wish, according to Pompey’s reporting. I don’t know that he would be at the very top of my list, but the market is not robust in terms of guys who can really address everything what the Sixers need, so if they do get Tucker I feel like he’s best as a four, Tobias as best as a four. I’m not sure which one of them slides down to the three or whether that is a precursor for a Tobias trade. So that would be something I would look out for.
He (Tucker) would if nothing else, give them that physicality. He gives them a small-ball five option as well. Because we learned the hard way that Doc was very reluctant to trust Paul Reed until the very end of last season. I don’t know if he’s going to be won over by Reed or Charles Bassey this year, and I’d much rather see PJ Tucker moonlighting as a small-ball five rather than ever see DeAndre Jordan play a minute for the Sixers ever again.”
Tucker will have plenty of suitors in free agency, but he isn’t the only former teammate of Harden that Morey has his eyes on this offseason. Some NBA insiders believe the Sixers are in the running to acquire Eric Gordon from the Houston Rockets.
Bryan and Jas discuss Gordon’s potential fit in Philly and several other topics, including:
- How Harden opting in impacts the Sixers’ salary cap for next season.
- If the Sixers don’t land Tucker, which other players would be a good fit with the midlevel exception.
- How Morey can clear some more cap space this offseason in order to add some bench depth.
- How realistic is it that the Sixers can move Tobias Harris’ contract before the start of next season?
- Which prospects make sense for the Sixers if they keep the No. 23 pick.
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