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Sixers match contract for Reed, retaining B-Ball Paul for three-years, $24 million

Daryl Morey and the Sixers gave fans a sweat, but the Paul Reed Victory Tour is not coming to an end.

2023 NBA Playoffs - Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

According to a Daryl Morey tweet, the Philadelphia 76ers are retaining 24-year-old big man Paul Reed. A team source confirmed the news to Liberty Ballers.

Reed signed a three-year, $24 million offer sheet to play for the Utah Jazz. The Sixers had from Saturday afternoon through Sunday night to match.

They took their time (either weighing all of their options, or simply making the Jazz sweat, tying up Danny Ainge’s precious cap dollars for over a full day) but ultimately utilized their right to match any offer the restricted free agent out of DePaul signed this offseason.

Reed worked his was out of the rotational “mud” and into fan’s hearts over the years in Philly, finally earning the backup big job behind Embiid during the 2022-2023 season.

Reed averaged 13.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 2.4 blocks per 36 minutes in a career high 755 minutes last season. He was instrumental these past playoffs, helping the Sixers sweep the Brooklyn Nets, then stealing home court advantage from the Boston Celtics when Joel Embiid missed time with an LCL sprain. It’s presumed this contract will begin at a very reasonable $7.3 million with accompanying 5 percent raises. The Sixers have now crossed the luxury tax threshold with this move.

With 13 players under contract, the team is now investing comically heavy into the center position. They’ll deploy a four big man rotation featuring Embiid, Reed, Mo Bamba and Montrezl Harrell. P.J Tucker can also play some backup five. Matching Reed’s offer sheet here makes the Bamba and Trez signings more than curious in hindsight. Bamba and Trez are on vet min deals, but still it seems inevitable that a couple of these names will become superfluous at one point or another this season, barring trades.

The Jazz structured the contract to dissuade Philadelphia from matching. The final two years of the deal will become guaranteed if Reed’s team makes the second round of the playoffs; something that feels significantly more likely to happen in Philadelphia than in Utah this coming season. Critically, Reed can veto any trade for the first year of this deal.

Should the Jazz finish in the first round or worse during the 2024 campaign, that would essentially have meant it would become a one-year deal for the Jazz. So it’s a much bigger commitment from Morey’s end than the deal Ainge was actually offering.

Ainge’s cunning didn’t pay off for him this time, but it will be interesting to see if other teams follow his lead, cooking up similar unique twists to scare teams off of retaining their own young players.

But at the end of the day, most fans would have signed up for an average $8M per season for three years in a snap to plug the minutes Embiid sits out. We all still have PTSD from the Greg Monroe days. This feels like an easy price to pay to feel comfortable with the reserve big for the next phase of Embiid’s (a player who often misses time with injuries) prime.

One (if any) hesitation the Sixers may have had here is the idea of having maximum flexibility and cap space next summer. Should a premier free agent become available and want to play for the Sixers, trying to move Reed a year from now on what might be a two-year, $15.7M deal next summer still seems feasible. But Reed’s year-long trade veto might put them in a time crunch ahead of the 2024 free agency period, should they eventually explore that route. Then again, simply making the second round may not be the given it’s been in years past. We need to see what happens with the James Harden and Dame Lillard trade request situations.

But for now, rejoice. The Paul Reed Victory Tour continues.

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