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NBA Roster Deadline Day - A Look At Where The Sixers Stand

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The Sixers have until 5 p.m. today to trim their roster down to 15. Here's a look at what options they have.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers have to submit their opening day roster set by 5 p.m. tonight.

This process has already begun, as the Sixers released Ronald Roberts JrDrew Gordon, and Malcolm Lee. They also traded Casper Ware for Marquis Teague, and signed Malcolm Thomas.

All in all, that leaves the Sixers roster at 18:

  • Michael Carter-Williams (pg)
  • Nerlens Noel (c)
  • Joel Embiid (c)
  • Tony Wroten (pg)
  • Hollis Thompson (sf)
  • Elliot Williams (sg/sf)
  • Alexey Shved (pg/sg)
  • Henry Sims (pf/c)
  • Jerami Grant (sf/pf)
  • Brandon Davies (pf)
  • Chris Johnson (sf)
  • Luc Mbah a Moute (sf)
  • Arnett Moultrie (pf)
  • K.J. McDaniels (sf)
  • Jason Richardson (sg/sf)
  • JaKarr Sampson (sf)
  • Malcolm Thomas (pf)
  • Marquis Teague (pg)
News also came out over the weekend that Jason Richardson suffered a stress fracture in his right foot. Richardson had been trying to work his way back from a left knee injury.

Brown had already been quoted as saying that it would be a challenge for Richardson to put on a uniform this year, and that was before the latest setback. It seems like there's little reason to use up a roster spot for Richardson, unless the team either really values his veteran leadership, or they believe that there's a (whatever small) chance that they make enough trades to get them over the salary cap before the trade deadline, at which point Richardson's $6.6 million expiring contract might afford them some flexibility.

Obviously, it's a long shot that the Sixers ever get over the salary cap for that to come into play.

Assuming Richardson gets cut, that puts the Sixers roster at 17. I do think that JaKarr Sampson will make the team. I think that Christapher Johnson is a likely candidate to get released, which would put the Sixers roster at 16.

The final cut may come down to the Brandon Davies or Arnett Moultrie. Davies would seem the logical choice, and he's done little to show that he's an NBA player, but I wouldn't completely rule out the chance that the Sixers part ways with Moultrie.

Also, don't rule out the Sixers cutting more than the three required, as they may look to pick up more players released from other teams.

4th year options
Both Arnett Moultrie and Marquis Teague have 4th year player options the Sixers have to decide on by the end of the month, both coming in at just a shade over $2 million. Moultrie was the 27th pick in the 2012 draft, with Teague going 2 slots later at 29th in the same draft.

At this point, I would be surprised if the team picks up either of those options. Moultrie has struggled to stay in shape during his first two seasons in the NBA, while showing an inconsistent effort level on defense and an offensive game built around the long two point jump shot, something that Brett Brown and Sam Hinkie are trying to remove from their offense as much as possible. I thought he's looked better on the defensive end in the preseason, but I think it may be too little too late with regards to his option being picked up.

For Teague, he's simply not looked like much of an NBA point guard to date, and the team will have the bird rights and resources to sign him if he shows the drastic improvement necessary to warrant it. Teague might have a slightly higher chance of having his option picked up due to him being new to the club, but I wouldn't be surprised if the team declined options on either of the two.

If the team does decline to pick up the 4th year option on either of these rookie contracts, they would enter next summer as an unrestricted free agent. Players with 3 years or less experience in the league are typically restricted free agents, except in the case where they are a first round draft pick and the team declines a player option on either the 3rd or 4th years of their rookie contracts, which both of these scenarios would fall under.

The Sixers would have bird rights on both of these players, as neither player has cleared waivers or been signed as a free agent over the previous three seasons. While the ability to go over the cap to sign these players isn't likely to be valuable to the Sixers, as they're likely to be under the cap come next summer, it would allow them to offer Moultrie or Teague contracts of up to 5 years with raises of 7.5% per year (from the base year), rather than contracts of up to 4 years and 4.5% raises (or less, for taxpayer teams using the mid-level).

Again, both would have to show incredible improvement in order to command a multi-year deal with the Sixers next offseason, so this is all likely academic.

D-League options

One of the questions frequently asked is whether the Sixers can stash a guy they cut, like Ronald Roberts Jr, on the Sevens.

Yes. And No.

The D-League does have what are known as affiliate players, where a team can have rights to up to 4 players that are cut from the training camp roster, assuming that their D-League rights are not already owned. For these players, if they do sign a contract with the D-League, the Sevens would have the ability to claim their rights, bypassing the D-League draft.

As a reminder, players sign contracts with the D-League, not with specific D-League teams.

This would allow the Sevens, who are fully controlled by the Sixers, to have an up close and personal look at the development of these players, affording them to chance to watch them for a full season, monitor their progress, and get a good read on their work ethic and coachability. What it would not do, however, is allow the Sixers to call them up (without signing them to an NBA contract), or control their rights. The contracts these cut players would sign would be contracts with the D-league, not with the Sixers, and thus any team would have the ability to sign them to an NBA contract and call them up. The Sixers would have the benefit of being able to work with them directly, but they wouldn't have their rights. The players are also free to sign with either a different NBA team or an overseas contract.

For the players who do make the NBA club, the Sixers can send up to 2 of them down to the D-League (although players with 3+ years experience can only be sent down with the players consent). These players will continue to occupy a roster spot, and will continue to receive their NBA contract. It is primarimly used to get playing time for the development of a player who may not get a lot of time with the Sixers, or perhaps to rehab their way back from an injury in a more controlled environment.