Free agency is fast approaching, and with it comes daily deluges of rumors and reports of where a number of players may end up. Considering the James Harden “will he stay or will he go?” situation, the Philadelphia 76ers have found themselves at the center of such reports.
Speaking of Harden, a Wednesday report by Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer provided some insight on a route the Sixers may look to take should Harden walk away from Philadelphia.
Gabe Vincent, the Miami Heat’s other key free-agent starter from their underdog run, has a strong opportunity to return . . . Vincent is also a secondary candidate in Dallas and Philadelphia, if any chicanery were to prevent the Mavericks or Sixers from retaining Kyrie Irving or James Harden, respectively. Both All-Stars, however, appeared headed back to their incumbent teams at the moment.
Vincent averaged 12.7 points, 3.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds throughout Miami’s 2022-23 postseason run that took them to the NBA Finals. He logged a number of impressive individual performances in that time, including a 29-point, six-triple game in Game 3 against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. Vincent’s contributions were massive for the Heat, who were without Tyler Herro after the guard broke his hand in Game 1 of the team’s first-round series vs. the Milwaukee Bucks.
As Fischer states, however, the tide of the narrative around Harden has turned from the midseason rumors of him leaving the Sixers for Houston, to now pointing towards the 10-time All-Star remaining in Philadelphia, possibly under a longer, more expensive contract.
It also appears that both Vincent and Miami mutually are aiming at staying together as well, according to Fischer.
Miami and Vincent, sources said, have mutual interest in keeping the UC Santa Barbara product with the Heat, particularly considering the roster’s other options at point guard.
Another interesting Sixers-adjacent nugget out of the Heat provided by Fischer was the possibility of Miami waiving Kyle Lowry. That sort of move would also likely points to Miami looking to retain Vincent to slot with Jimmy Butler in the backcourt.
Without a [Damian] Lillard trade, or another deal that includes Kyle Lowry’s $29 million expiring contract, league personnel are preparing for Miami to waive Lowry with tax penalties in mind despite his strong postseason contributions.
So, if everything goes as is rumored right now, Vincent will remain with the Heat and Harden with the Sixers... but, as it always goes during free agency, you never know until it happens.
Fischer also dropped a little note about a possible destination for Sixer Georges Niang, who is set to enter unrestricted free agency.
The Cavaliers are looking at all kinds of wing targets, sources said, from [Max] Strus to Kelly Oubre to Georges Niang.
Niang averaged 8.2 points per game, shooting 40.1 percent from beyond the arc in the 2022-23 campaign, concluding his two-year deal worth $6.7 million with Philadelphia.
For now, we wait. Harden must make a decision on his player option with the Sixers tomorrow, June 29, and free agency begins Friday night at 6 p.m. ET.