August 13, 2022

Joel Embiid is the North Star for the Philadelphia 76ers. Every move they’ve made in recent years – and every move they’ll continue to make for the foreseeable future – is aimed at maximizing Embiid’s unique and varied skill set. In addition to Embiid, Tyrese Maxey has established himself as a fundamental piece, as has James Harden, who is widely expected to re-sign with the Sixers in free agency this summer. With those three serving as the core of the team — for next season at least — the Sixers will want to complement them as best they can this summer.

With that in mind, here’s a look at five potential free agent targets for Philadelphia.

1. PJ Tucker, forward (unrestricted)

Any list of free agent targets for the Sixers has to start with PJ Tucker, given recent reports linking the two. Philadelphia is definitely interested in the veteran forward, and understandably so. As a ground-spacing forward, he would fit in well alongside Embiid, who mentioned Tucker by name when discussing the type of player the Sixers need after Tucker’s Heat knocked them out. in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“You look at someone like PJ Tucker. Great player, but it’s not about knocking shots on him. It’s about what he does, whether it’s defensively or bouncing the ball “, Embiid said. “You look, obviously, defensively, he plays with so much energy, believes he can get from point A to point B, and he believes no one can beat him. And he’s tough. He’s just physical, and he is hard. “

That’s a pretty resounding endorsement from Embiid, and when your franchise player publicly covets a player like that, you should at least try to sign him. Additionally, Tucker has experience with Harden, as the two played in Houston for multiple seasons. Given his age – Tucker is 37 – concerns about giving him a multi-year deal are fair, but he would almost certainly help the Sixers in the short term, and that’s what they’re looking for.

2. Tyus Jones, guard (unrestricted)

Maxey are Harden will be Philadelphia’s starting backcourt, and those two will handle a lot of the ball handling and team play. However, the team still needs a reliable reserve guard to lead the second unit, and that’s where Jones could be a good fit. He may not be the sexiest name, but Jones is a firm hand at a position that has proven to be violated for the Sixers in recent years. He’s a career 35% shooter from long range (despite shooting 39% last season), and he’s averaged just 0.7 turnovers per game in his career – down from 3 .7 assists.

He played 21.2 minutes per game for a strong Grizzlies team last season, and he stepped into the starting role admirably when Ja Morant was out with injury issues. So well, in fact, that the team barely seemed to skip a beat when their star guard was sidelined. For a Sixers team that doesn’t have much financial flexibility, Jones could be affordable and he fits a needy position.

Porter Jr. is a veteran two-way wing with solid size and athleticism. In other words, he’s exactly the type of player the Sixers need. He’s a career 39% shooter from long range, and he’s averaged 1.1 steals per game over his career, which now includes a championship ring thanks to his role with the Goldens. State Warriors. His addition would bolster the depth of Philadelphia’s wing, as he would represent an immediate upgrade from one of the team’s current reserve forwards.

Porter played on a one-year, $2.3 million contract last season, and while his price likely went up after helping Golden State win a title, if the Sixers could land him at a reasonable rate, he would be a great addition.

Matthews has been the prototype wing three and D during his career, and he is still able to deliver both skills. At 35, he won’t give you more than 30 minutes at a high level, but he can be extremely effective in a limited role, as he demonstrated with the Bucks last season. With the Sixers, he would provide ground spacing around Embiid and co., and he doesn’t need the ball in his hands, or have plays in progress for him to be effective. Plus, it will likely be relatively cheap on the open market. The Sixers want reliable veterans and Matthews certainly qualifies.

Hey, crazier things have happened. Realistically, Drummond will likely want a bigger contract and role than what’s available to him in Philadelphia, especially after signing a one-year contract last offseason. But, he was the best replacement Embiid had before being traded to the Nets in February. Although Paul Reed showed legitimate potential, the team could still use a reliable backup 5, like Drummond.

By all accounts, he enjoyed his (brief) time in Philadelphia last season, and the organization certainly appreciated what he brought to the team. With the Sixers, Drummond would again be assured of a definite role on a playoff team. It’s unlikely, but he signed on for this role once. How can I say that he wouldn’t do it again?