Over the next few weeks, we’ll be profiling every player currently on the Sixers’ roster ahead of training camp, which begins on September 27.
Contract Status: Second year of a three-year, $15 million contract signed last summer. He will make $5 million this season, and $5.37 million in the 2023-24 season, before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2024.
Furkan Korkmaz has spent his entire NBA career as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. After the team drafted him with the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, he spent one additional year overseas playing for Anadolu Efes before chartering Dario Saric’s boat to come stateside for the 2017-18 season.
Frankly, he’s been a fun guy to cover in his five NBA seasons. Korkmaz has experienced legitimate success with Philadelphia. Remember when he made it rain with 34 points back in February 2020?
"I just made it rain."— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 8, 2020
Furkan Korkmaz with the all-time comment to @SerenaWinters after his 34 point night at Wells Fargo Center. pic.twitter.com/MNSNKGT9RS
He’s had fun, quirky moments off the court. Last year, Furkan posted a legendary hype video that included him dunking through a rim of CGI flames.
Furkan Korkmaz just posted the best offseason workout hype video I’ve ever seen from a NBA player.— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) September 23, 2021
Recently, Korkmaz endeared himself to Philadelphians yet again by proving he has that dawg in him, after standing up for his Turkish national pride in EuroBasket competition.
So it took 3 players AND security to fight ONE Furkan Korkmaz pic.twitter.com/LZygwtmSMF— Sixers Nation (@PHLSixersNation) September 4, 2022
The vibes are generally terrific with Furkan, and if you could pencil him for around 40 percent from three (he shot 40.2 percent in 2019-20 and 37.5 percent in 2020-21), you’d keep him around as a bench flamethrower in a heartbeat, especially on a very reasonable deal paying him around $5 million annually.
The problem is that the 2021-22 season was not so kind to Korkmaz, as his three-point shooting regressed all the way down to 28.9 percent. Yes, he has made moderate strides on the defensive end and off the bounce as a playmaker, but if he’s not making it rain from behind the arc, Furkan shouldn’t be seeing the court. It will be up to Korkmaz to show last season was a one-year blip and he’s more like the shooter we saw the prior two seasons.
Season outlook: The Sixers would love for Korkmaz to revert to form, for more than one reason. His $5 million cap value this year represents one of the few workable contracts to aggregate in a trade. If Daryl Morey sees a veteran available, the Matisse Thybulle-Furkan Korkmaz combo is the first step in making a deal work. If Korkmaz were to play well, another team could view him as a positive addition to the trade, helping the Sixers’ leverage.
Of course, they would also like to see him play well for simple team success reasons. The Sixers have a lot more perimeter depth than last year with the offseason additions of P.J. Tucker, Danuel House, Jr. and De’Anthony Melton. But you can never have too many options, and the Sixers want to surround Joel Embiid and James Harden with as many knockdown catch-and-shoot players as possible. Is Furkan Korkmaz still that guy? I’d lean no, but it’s not out of the question.
I don’t anticipate Korkmaz being part of the main rotation out of the gate. I’m sure he’ll get his minutes, both as Doc Rivers cycles the back end of the roster based on matchups and as guys pick up minor injuries here and there. The most likely outcome still feels like Furkan leaves Philadelphia via trade, though. The team just has so few salary-matching avenues. Now, if Korkmaz shoots the ball well and the team decides to keep him around, I’d happily be wrong. Every club needs a rainmaker.