While we’re all waiting on news about the James Harden trade situation, we got thrown a curveball bombshell regarding the Tyrese Maxey contract extension front.
Kyle Neubeck of The PhillyVoice was the first one to surprise us.
The latest intel on the Sixers' free agency plans, including a big detail:— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) June 30, 2023
The Sixers are not expected to extend Tyrese Maxey this summer, according to sources familiar with the situation https://t.co/ARPLig2xdL
“• The Sixers are not expected to sign Tyrese Maxey to an extension this offseason, according to sources familiar with the situation. This is not viewed as a condemnation of Maxey or a reflection of how the team values him, with the team continuing to view Maxey as a long-term core piece. The lack of an extension would come down to the flexibility Philadelphia can maintain by holding off on a deal, potentially clearing a pathway to another max slot next summer.”
ESPN Insider Ramona Shelburne confirmed the team’s plan by tweeting:
“The Sixers are not planning to extend Tyrese Maxey this summer, sources told ESPN. He is still seen as a big part of their future, but the team wants to delay an extension for him to preserve flexibility.”
Maxey has a low $13M free agent cap hold in 2024.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) June 30, 2023
If he signed an extension starting at $30M for example, Philadelphia will lose $17M in room.
The 76ers have only 2 players with guaranteed contracts in 2024-25:
Joel Embiid and PJ Tucker https://t.co/eAXzRa7Q8f
Liberty Ballers’ own Bryan Toporek was way ahead of the curve on this type of scenario playing out.
Per Toporek, writing about a scenario where Harden did not return, back in late May:
“Maxey will have a $13.0 million cap hold next summer as a free agent if the Sixers don’t sign him to an extension this offseason. That’s far lower than what the starting salary on his new contract figures to be. The Sixers could effectively use his cap hold to create an additional $15-20 million in cap space, then re-sign him after spending that money.”
Players set to see a massive spike in annual salary, while traded on their original salary, are also not easy to trade. So if the 76ers are considering trading Maxey between now and next summer, delaying his extension would allow them to avoid that poison-pill element, which makes potential salary-matching challenging.
But more importantly, since it still seems as if Maxey is part of the long-term plan here, this purported delaying of Maxey’s big extension would give the Sixers a window next summer to potentially be players in free agency.
It’s not without risk. Though the team would still possess matching rights, if Maxey and his agency, Klutch Sports, was not on board with the idea, he could sign a shorter deal next summer. Rival teams can offer him up to four years. So if he was open to signing a five-year extension this summer, well... you never know what can happen if you’re upsetting a budding star.
But if Maxey is ultimately on board, and all indications are that he’s a proven winner who’s obsessed with competing at the highest level, then this could potentially be a win-win plan.
The timing is interesting. The Sixers are potentially on the clock with the James Harden trade request. If they want to maximize their options in any potential trade, they must act right away.
This is just the most basic example of a Harden to LAC trade, but salary matching gets significantly more complicated once we flip over to the new CBA year.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) June 30, 2023
A detailed explanation for why that is:https://t.co/7ymzeZGrva pic.twitter.com/0ZHYnfL1Kf
If they are planning to strike a Harden deal Friday evening, then perhaps they might have waited before sharing this news.
If the Sixers extend Maxey this summer, his new salary would kick in for the 2024-2025 season. But if they’re able to delay an extension for a full 12 months, the Kentucky product could potentially play out his entire rookie deal in Philadelphia, granting the Sixers one last offseason window to potentially go big-game hunting.
Editor’s update, Brian Windhorst hopped on NBA Today and had this to add:
“Right now Daryl Morey has made it clear the price [for acquiring James Harden] is high... one of the big tipping points here...Dame Lillard... wanna know why [they’re not extending Tyrese Maxey this summer]? Because they might trade him. And it’s because he would be a potential piece in a Dame Lillard trade.”
-“wanna know why [they’re not extending Maxey this summer]? Because they might trade him. And it’s because he would be a potential piece in a Dame Lillard trade.”— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) June 30, 2023
- Windhorst (full sentence there)
And here’s the rest of what Windy had to add on that subject:
Windhorst on NBA Today— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) June 30, 2023
-“Right now Daryl Morey has made it clear the price is high [on Harden].”
-“wanna know why [they’re not extending Maxey this summer]? Because they might trade him.” pic.twitter.com/zYl2raHQme
The Sixers continue to view Maxey as a big part of their future and not available in trade talks, a team source tells Editor-in-Chief Paul Hudrick.