clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How Did We Get Here: A Sixers’ Roster Transaction Tree

Whether via the draft, free agency or trades, here’s a look at how the current Philadelphia 76ers roster came to be.

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

Fans aren’t exactly thrilled with the Philadelphia 76ers roster at the moment. This summer, the team has made no significant additions to the squad that once again failed to make it out of the second round of the playoffs, while losing a couple rotation members in free agency. Also, wait, how many centers do the Sixers have? So while we await whatever the conclusion to the James Harden trade request saga might bring, let’s take a look at the roster as it stands, and the path laid to bring each player to Philadelphia.

Draft (6 players):

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid: With their third overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Sam Hinkie and the Philadelphia front office took a risk on a big man out of Kansas who had suffered a stress fracture in his back that spring, missing the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. They remained patient when he missed his first two NBA seasons due to foot surgeries. Since then, of course, Embiid has blossomed into one of the best players in franchise history, last year securing the Sixers’ first MVP award since Allen Iverson in 2001. In 2017, Joel signed a five-year, $148 million max contract extension, which included injury provisions that would save the team money should Embiid miss significant time due to foot or back injuries. Then, he signed a four-year, $213.3 million super max extension in 2021, which contains a $59 million player option in 2026-27. Good pick, in this writer’s opinion.

Paul Reed: The man who would become known as BBall Paul was taken by the Sixers with the 58th overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. The draft slot was the Lakers’ second-round pick, which the Sixers acquired from Orlando in the February 2020 deal that sent James Ennis III to the Magic. After sporadic playing time his first two seasons, Reed seized the backup center role behind Joel Embiid during the second half of last season. He signed a three-year, $23.6 million year with Utah this offseason in restricted free agency, with Danny Ainge tweaking the Sixers by making years two and three fully guaranteed only if Reed’s team advances to the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs. The Sixers matched the offer, and Reed is now on the road to becoming Pascal Siakam 2.0 under new head coach Nick Nurse. With his outside shot an offseason focus, Reed looks to be slated for minutes at the four in addition to his backup center role.

Furkan Korkmaz: Kork was taken by the Sixers 26th overall in the 2016 NBA draft. The pick was originally Oklahoma City’s 2015 first-round pick that was top-18-protected. After the Thunder had the 14th pick that year, it rolled over to being a lottery-protected pick in 2016. Philadelphia acquired the pick from Denver in February 2015 in exchange for taking on JaVale McGee’s contract. As part of the deal, the Sixers also received the draft rights to Process legend Chu Chu Maduabum (a nice guy who I once interviewed at The Basketball Tournament for my now-defunct Philly Fast Break website), and sent out the draft rights to Cenk Akyol. After one season overseas, Korkmaz joined the team for the 2017-18 season, and is now the team’s second-longest tenured player behind Joel Embiid. He later re-signed with Philadelphia in 2021 on a three-year, $15 million deal. In recent years, Korkmaz has made multiple trade requests in hopes of going somewhere else to receive more playing time. Now an expiring contract, maybe this is the year!

Tyrese Maxey: Maxey miraculously fell to the Sixers at 21st overall in the 2020 NBA draft. As unexpected as his draft slide was, how the Sixers had the pick in the first place is even more of a crazy journey. The Sixers originally acquired Oklahoma City’s top-20-protected first-round pick and Ersan Ilyasova in a November 2016 deal that saw them send Jerami Grant to the Thunder. Inexplicably, Bryan Colangelo would send that pick and Brooklyn’s 2020 second-round pick to Orlando for the 25th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, which Colangelo used to select Anzejs Pasecniks. Fortunately, Elton Brand would partially right that tremendous wrong in February 2019, sending Markelle Fultz to Orlando for that same Oklahoma City pick, Jonathon Simmons, and Cleveland’s 2019 second-round pick.

However, the Thunder’s pick would have fallen in the top-20 and stayed with Oklahoma City if former Sixer Mike Muscala had not hit a game-winning three with five seconds left in the Thunder’s 116-115 regular season finale win over Miami (which took place in the Bubble in August 2020).

The Thunder would then also win a random drawing tiebreaker with the Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz to have the pick be at 21st overall, rather than 22nd or 23rd. It was literally a best-case scenario for the Sixers. There are places in the multiverse where Muscala misses that shot and the Thunder retain the pick, or the tiebreaker goes to Houston or Utah and they take Maxey instead. These are darkest timeline-type places. Maxey has blossomed into one of the best young guards in the league and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him receive a max contract extension next summer.

Jaden Springer: Still somehow just 20 years old, Springer was selected by the Sixers with their own pick at 28th overall in the 2021 NBA draft. He has spent most of his time across his first two seasons with the Delaware Blue Coats, only appearing in 18 games total thus far with Philadelphia. He won G League Finals MVP last season and also led the league in steals. Depending on how things shake out on the James Harden front, Springer might be looking at a regular role with the big club this season. How things eventually progress with his jump shot will determine his NBA future; the defense is certainly pro-ready.

Filip Petrusev: The Sixers drafted Petrusev with the 50th overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft, a pick they acquired back in 2015 in a deal with the Knicks. Philadelphia traded the 35th overall pick in that 2015 draft (which the Knicks used to select Willy Hernangomez, who appears briefly alongside his brother Juancho in the movie Hustle), in exchange for the Knicks’ 2020 and 2021 second-round picks and cash considerations. After a couple years overseas, the Sixers signed Petrusev this summer to a two-year, $3 million deal, with a 50 percent partial guarantee in Year 1. Despite the partial guarantee, it still wouldn’t be surprising to see Petrusev waived after training camp.

Free Agency (8 players):

NBA: Playoffs-Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

P.J. Tucker: Tucker signed a three-year, $33 million deal with the Sixers in July of 2022 (aka the Summer of Dawgs), with the third year a player option. He was brought in to bring toughness and playoff experience, partially at the behest of Joel Embiid, who mentioned Tucker by name after P.J.’s Miami Heat eliminated the Sixers from the 2022 NBA playoffs. James Harden also may or may not have taken a pay cut specifically to allow the team to sign his former teammate in Houston. The league stripped the Sixers of two second-round picks that summer, one of which was due to tampering around the Tucker signing. P.J. has been involved in the trade rumors regarding the Los Angeles Clippers this summer.

Danuel House, Jr.: The other tampering investigation subject that lost the Sixers an additional second-round pick, House signed a two-year, $8.4 million deal with Philadelphia last summer. The second year was a player option, which House accepted. The 30-year-old only played 14.4 minutes per game last season, but may see a bit more time this year under new head coach Nick Nurse given the team’s (lack of) wing depth.

Patrick Beverley: Pat Bev signed a one-year, veteran minimum deal with the Sixers this summer. Philadelphia will be his sixth team heading into his 12th NBA season. Here’s Beverley’s celebration of Minnesota winning their Play-In Tournament game to advance to the playoffs in 2022, just because.

Montrezl Harrell: The veteran big man signed a two-year deal with the Sixers last summer, with a player option for the second year. Harrell then declined the player option this summer, but was later re-signed by the team on a one-year veteran minimum deal. Many have speculated (Dave Early and myself being many) that Harrell and the front office reached an agreement that he would decline the option and see if there was something better out there in the open market, with the understanding that the team would re-sign him if Harrell’s camp wanted. Given the nature of veteran minimum contracts for a player of his tenure, Harrell makes slightly more money and Philadelphia saves money under the salary cap under this scenario versus if Trez had simply accepted his player option. Harrell has since torn his ACL and is expected to be out for the season. Philadelphia may apply later for a Disabled Player Exception or use Harrell’s salary in a trade.

Mo Bamba: The sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft signed a one-year, veteran minimum deal with the Sixers this summer. In the midst of his fifth season with the Orlando Magic, Bamba was traded to the Lakers at the deadline last February, but then only appeared in nine games with Los Angeles.

Ricky Council IV: Signed to a two-way contract this summer as an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas. I’m sure you know by now, but I can’t not mention that Ricky’s dad is Ricky Council and his older brothers are Ricky Council II and Ricky Council III.

Terquavion Smith: Signed to a two-way contract this summer as an undrafted free agent from NC State. Terq shined in Summer League play and looks poised to be the next young guy fans clamor to see get actual playing time with the big club.

Azuolas Tubelis: Signed to a two-way contract this summer as an undrafted free agent out of Arizona. Tubelis was a relative non-factor in Summer League play.

Trades (3):

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Tobias Harris: Let’s go back to February 2019, when the Sixers acquired Harris, bestie Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott from the Los Angeles Clippers, in exchange for Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, Landry Shamet, Philadelphia’s top-14-protected 2020 first-round pick, Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick and Detroit’s 2021 and 2023 second-round picks. Those picks would go on to become Saddiq Bey, Tre Mann, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and James Nnaji. Harris would re-sign with Philadelphia that summer on a five-year, $180 million deal that fell just $8 million shy of a max contract. Fair or not, Harris being paid as a top-20 player in the league while producing at a level shy of an All-Star-caliber player became a symbol for the Sixers’ good, but not quite good enough status as a franchise. Fans increasingly soured on Harris over the years as his contract took on more and more of an albatross nature. Now entering the expiring year of the deal, Harris will likely be heading elsewhere next summer as Daryl Morey looks to maximize cap space to reshape the roster.

James Harden: After trying a year earlier, Morey was finally able to reunite with Harden in February 2022, sending Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, Philadelphia’s unprotected 2022 first-round pick with the right to defer to 2023, and Philadelphia’s top-8-protected 2027 first-round pick, in exchange for Harden and Paul Millsap. Brooklyn would end up deferring that 2022 pick to 2023, then sending it to Utah in the trade for Royce O’Neale; the Jazz drafted Brice Sensabaugh. That summer, Harden would sign a two-year $68.6 million deal, with a $35.6 million player option in Year 2. Harden had opted out of his $47 million player option for the 2022-23 season, so this new deal was viewed as his taking a pay cut in order to allow Morey to build a better roster around him in the pursuit of a championship.

Obviously, the whole championship thing didn’t work out, but then Harden unexpectedly opted in to his player option for the upcoming season, followed by a trade request with the Los Angeles Clippers as his desired destination. Since then, we’ve been stuck in news limbo, with Daryl Morey not wanting to give the 2022-23 assists leader away for peanuts, and the Clippers not willing to include real assets for a player on an expiring deal who has greatly underperformed in playoff elimination games in consecutive seasons. The waiting game looks ready to drag on into training camp.

De’Anthony Melton: Melton was acquired by the Sixers in a 2022 draft night trade that saw them send their own 23rd overall pick (used to select David Roddy) and Danny Green to Memphis. Mr. Do Something had a solid first year in Philadelphia, toggling between a sixth man role and the starting lineup. There have been no reported extension talks between the team and Melton as he enters the last year of his contract before hitting unrestricted free agency next summer.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Liberty Ballers Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Philadelphia 76ers news from Liberty Ballers