October 4, 2022

It looks like James Harden’s decision to turn down his player option will greatly expand the Sixers’ options.

That said, it’s worth remembering that the Sixers currently have 12 players under contract and can’t just hand out hugely compelling offers to whoever they want.

Still, it looks like the team should be given some useful resources to improve their depth in free agency, which officially begins Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. PhillyVoice’s Kyle Neubeck indicated that the Sixers expected to have access to the mid-level non-taxpayer exception (approximately $10.5 million), the semi-annual exception (approximately $4.1 million) and “some leeway for brands and exchanges”.

We don’t know what the exact numbers for Harden’s new contract will be, but all of the above reinforces the 32-year-old goalkeeper’s willingness to take a substantial pay cut to help the team add quality free agents. Harden’s option for the 2022-23 season was around $47.4 million.

So which players could be reasonable targets for the Sixers?

P.J. Tucker

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein are among those reporting on the Sixers’ interest in Tucker. We’ll dive more into his fit with the Sixers if the team does end up signing him, but for now suffice it to say that the 37-year-old’s comfort alongside Harden, tenacious defense against star scorers and the ability to play in the center are positive. to bring to the table.

Daniel Jr House

Asked hours after dispatching Danny Green last week in a trade for De’Anthony Melton about the Sixers’ position on the wing, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey kept it simple.

“We might need another wing,” Morey said.

Like Tucker, House started next to Harden on Morey’s Rockets. He earned a rotation spot on the Jazz late last season and averaged 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks per 36 minutes. The best version of House is a player who does good things – deflects, blocks, various energy plays – while blending in well alongside the stars.

Cody Martin

The Hornets made a $2.2 million qualifying offer to Martin, making him a restricted free agent.

The 26-year-old winger would be a similar addition to Melton in that he is used to forcing turnovers and may be on the verge of developing further. He’s not a high-volume three-point shooter, although Martin took a dramatic leap in efficiency last season, hitting 38.4% of his triples.

Juan Toscano Anderson

Athletic’s Anthony Slater reported that Toscano-Anderson is now an unrestricted free agent because the Warriors did not extend a $2.1 million qualifying offer.

Toscano-Anderson is versatile, selfless and capable of filling the unexpected holes that inevitably have to be plugged over the course of a season. His shooting has declined after a 2020-21 campaign in which he made more than 40% of his threes, but bench players are still subject to small fluctuations related to sample size. Toscano-Anderson will take open jumpers and he also likes to set up teammates for them.

Bryn Forbes

Regardless of position etiquette – guard combo, small two guards, etc. – Forbes is a shooter. He’s converted 41.3% of his three NBAs and hasn’t been below 38.8% in the past five seasons.

Maybe the Sixers won’t want a third player at or around 6-foot-2 in their rotation (along with Melton and Tyrese Maxey), but Morey enjoys shooting around the stars who frequently attract double teams.

Serge Ibaka

Morey suggested in his post-draft press conference that he doesn’t consider center backup a priority in free agency.

“I know (head coach Doc Rivers) is very excited about what Paul Reed gave us down the stretch. … It’s far from a big winning team like ours, but the hope is that (Charles) Bassey can contribute at some point this year,” Morey said. “Hopefully Paul builds on what he did at the end of last year.

“Again, we’re going to be opportunistic with more spending in free agency. There will be opportunistic looks on minimal spending. But I think the bar will be high on minimal spending at the save center because we feel that we have guys who can contribute.

If the Sixers end up opting for a veteran center, Ibaka, Gorgui Dieng, Robin Lopez and Bismack Biyombo are names to consider. None of these players strike us as essential or likely to have a big impact, but they are moot options if the Sixers want a more traditional, ‘know what you’re going to get’ center than 23-year-old Reed, 21-year-old Bassey years old and maybe the 6-foot-5 Tucker.