James Harden’s trade request has basically nuked the Sixers’ offseason — which was no doubt The Beard’s intention.
But with no clear resolution in sight and training camp a little more than a month away, there are still holes on the Sixers’ roster. The signings of Patrick Beverley and Mo Bamba should help, but the team also lost Georges Niang and Jalen McDaniels, two wing options that saw postseason rotation minutes.
It’s fair to wonder what’s out there as September creeps up. The simple answer is not much, but there are a couple intriguing players that could make varying degrees of sense.
Kelly Oubre, Jr.
The talent gap between Oubre and the next-best option is fairly vast. The eight-year veteran averaged over 20 points a game for a bad Charlotte team last season. Still just 27, the Kansas product has averaged 17 points a game over the last four seasons. At 6-foot-7 and with a 7-3 wingspan, Oubre could replace some of the size and athleticism the Sixers lost with McDaniels’ departure.
Talent and size aren’t the issues with Oubre — efficiency and decision-making are. In those four seasons referenced, Oubre’s true shooting percentage is just 54.7. He’s also almost averaged as many turnovers (1.2) as assists (1.3) in that span.
Still, this late in the offseason, and on just the $5 million taxpayer mid-level exception, Oubre is worth a flyer. Oddly enough, he’s sort of been good every other season, at least from an efficiency standpoint. He shot 31.9 percent from three last season on a very healthy volume (7.1 attempts a game). If can he can hover around 35 percent on a decent volume, he could be a useful player.
How could anyone forget the absolute hell Warren put Sixers perimeter defenders in during The Bubble? Unfortunately, Warren is far from the player that gave Philly 53 back in August of 2020. Warren suffered a stress fracture in his left foot that required surgery. He’s played in just 46 games total since The Bubble.
Warren had his moments after a signing a minimum deal with the Brooklyn Nets last season. He struggled to stay healthy throughout the course of the season and was eventually included in the Kevin Durant blockbuster. With the Phoenix Suns, Warren failed to stay in the rotation, despite the Suns’ desperate need for depth. He saw some playoff action as Phoenix was ravaged by injuries, but didn’t make much of an impact.
In signing Warren to the minimum for his age 30 season, you’re hoping he can rekindle just a tiny bit of that offensive magic. Warren was a gifted scorer who was bit by the injury bug just as things seemingly began to click for him. The biggest thing might be if he can rediscover the three ball. Warren shot well over 40 percent from deep in the two seasons before his injury. He’s been below 30 percent in the limited action since.
With his skill, size and experience, a minimum deal couldn’t hurt.
Ross feels like a guy Sixers fans have always brought up while the veteran guard was a part of the Orlando Magic. The 32-year-old is a smooth and athletic player with over 700 games of NBA experience. After spending parts of seven seasons as a microwave scorer off Orlando’s bench, the veteran was bought out midseason and signed with Phoenix.
Ross is the ultimate hot and cold player — something that was on full display with the Suns. He averaged over 11 points and shot 42.6 percent from three during his first 11 games with Phoenix. He averaged 4.4 (including four straight scoreless games) and shot 15 percent from three over his last seven. Similar to Warren, he found himself mostly outside of the Suns’ playoff rotation and didn’t make much of an impact during his minutes.
Think of Ross as a more athletic Furkan Korkmaz. He’ll have a game or two where he cannot miss, but he’ll follow it up with a stretch where he can’t hit anything and won’t give you much defensively. You could do worse on the minimum, but you can probably do better. Ross could be a solid regular season “innings eater” on the wing, but probably won’t be a factor in the playoff rotation.
The Bulls had a tough year injury-wise last season. While Lonzo Ball’s serious knee injury grabbed the headlines, Chicago was also missing other key contributors for long stretches. Green was one of them, playing in just 32 games last season after being a fixture in the Bulls’ rotation and even starting 45 games the season prior. On Jan. 11, Green underwent arthroscopic debridement to remedy a bone bruise in his right knee. He played limited minutes in just four games the rest of the season.
Nothing is going to jump off Green’s Basketball Reference page and excite you. The 30-year-old’s athleticism and energy are his calling cards. Though he’s 6-foot-4, Green is built solidly and possesses the athleticism to guard multiple positions at a high level. He was an excellent complementary role player to the likes of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic. He even saw an improvement in his three-point shot, hitting 36 from deep while with the Bulls (albeit on low volume).
Green definitely fits more of the role player mold than the names above him. He didn’t even start his NBA career until he was 26 after starring overseas. He’s a guy that will buy into and be grateful for whatever role he’s given. The injury is scary, but if he’s healthy now, he could compete with a guy like Danuel House, Jr. for wing minutes in the rotation. Even if Harden doesn’t play, the Sixers absolutely could use an infusion of athleticism.
JTA was a fixture in the Warriors’ rotation during their “lean” years. He was a part of the 2022 championship squad, playing in 73 games (six starts) that season, but played just 49 total minutes during the postseason. The 30-year-old’s stints with the Lakers and the Jazz last season weren’t fruitful.
Like Green, JTA is known for his energy, athleticism and defensive versatility. Also like Green, he didn’t get his start in the NBA until age 26 after stints in Mexico, Venezuela and the G League. After showing promise with his shot his first couple NBA seasons, his numbers fell off a cliff. culminating in him shooting below 20 percent from deep last season.
If you’re looking for a player with outstanding vibes and a championship ring, JTA is a fine candidate to have on the back of your bench. The Sixers would likely prefer one of the above options.