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The Harrell-Doc Dilemma and the Final 15

A September surprise signing has us analyzing the Sixers’ roster.

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Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Just when we thought the Philadelphia 76ers were done tinkering with the roster leading up to training camp later this month, the Sixers threw us a curveball earlier this week with the signing of seven-year vet Montrezl Harrell. The team inked the 6-foot-7 Harrell to a two-year, $5,223,516 contact, with a base salary of $2,463,490 for the 2022-23 season an a player option for Year 2.

On the latest episode of the Talking About Podcast, Sean Kennedy and Dave Early discuss what Harrell brings to the table, but also the inherent dilemma given the prior relationship between the big man and Doc Rivers. While together with the Clippers in 2020, Rivers stuck with Harrell in their playoff series against the Denver Nuggets in the face of extremely negative results. As Dave wrote for Liberty Ballers early this week:

“Rivers has had this maddening flaw where he locks on to a backup veteran he trusts and he plays that guy throughout the regular season when it may work, and appears to help the team eke out a few extra wins, which carry important weight for the ultimate standings.

But the opportunity cost is he then fails to tinker with lineups that have a better chance of succeeding in the playoffs, and costs his team chances to ramp up promising young players (see Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Terrence Mann, or Paul Reed).”

The devoted Paul Reed “out the mud” followers are going through it this week.

On the pod, Dave predicts that any stubbornness around the backup center usage might be one more factor in the case against Doc Rivers remaining the head coach beyond this season:

“I think this is Doc’s last year. Assuming — the Sixers have what, a five percent chance to win the championship per Vegas or whatever it is — assuming they don’t, I think Doc Rivers is fired and I think we’re gonna look back and say, ‘I cannot believe it took them three years to do that’.”

The Harrell signing also means the Sixers have 17 players signed to the roster (not including two-way or Exhibit 10 deals). Sean and Dave hash out what moves the team might make to get down to the 15 required spots by opening night. Here’s a current look at the back half of the roster, courtesy of Spotrac:

Tune in for our predictions of how the Sixers will get down to 15 and much more on this week’s episode.

You can listen to the full episode below:

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