The Philadelphia 76ers closed out their 2018-19 season last week after falling to the Toronto Raptors in a competitive 7 game series. What some say was an improvement from last season after getting embarrassed by Boston in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Sixers core isn’t satisfied with the season’s end results.
Now the focus shifts to the offseason as the Sixers prep to take the next step in the 2019-20 season. There will be an abundance of talent on the free agent list including some current Sixers. Elton Brand and company have a lot of work to do to keep this team in contention for a NBA title. Below are some potential targets we could see the Sixers chase after.
Retain – Top Priority:
Jimmy Butler – His performance in the playoffs alone showed how truly valuable he is. Butler was the heart and soul of the Sixers during their series against Brooklyn and most notably, Toronto.
Closing in on 30yrs old, if Butler is signed to a max, the Sixers will be stuck with him through the remainder of his prime. Although Philadelphia may see a declining Butler towards the back end of his new deal, that’s the risk that will have to be taken as the next 2-3yrs could be the team’s opportunity to take the crown.
Retain – Others:
Tobias Harris – A lot of fans were disappointed with Harris after he hit somewhat of a cold streak to end the season but fear not! Tobias is just 26yrs old and has yet to hit his peak potential. His ability to stretch the floor and create his own shot at the 4 position makes him a perfect fit among the Sixers current roster.
J.J. Redick – Consistently being one of the league’s top shooters from deep, J.J. provides great value. Since joining the Sixers in 2017, he has averaged just under 18ppg while shooting over 40% from the 3pt line. He may have to take a pay cut due to his one dimensional game but bringing him back should definitely be a priority.
Mike Scott – Simply put, the whole city loves him. Initially viewed as a “throw in” in the Tobias Harris/Shamet trade, Scott proved his worth as a premier role player off the bench. The city would riot if he wasn’t brought back by Elton Brand and the Philadelphia front office.
James Ennis – Ennis proved to be pretty valuable in the postseason, averaging just under 10ppg in his limited time off the bench. As a 4yr vet and great locker room presence, he wouldn’t be a bad option to have at the end of the bench next season.
Boban Marjanovic – If Tobi stays, Bobi stays! On a more serious note though, you can’t find many better backups bigs in the league outside of Boban. His athleticism may push him back into the 3rd Center role, limiting his minutes, but efficiency in a short amount of time is nothing new for Marjanovic.
Outside – Top Priority:
Kawhi Leonard – He broke all of our hearts but that doesn’t mean we can’t forgive him. The Sixers would be foolish to not at least try to lure Kawhi to Philadelphia. There were rumors when Leonard was on the Spurs that Philadelphia was in pursuit of him but fell back after asking prices were in the range of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
Pairing Leonard with a core of Simmons, Embiid, and Butler/Harris would instantly make the Sixers a top 2-3 team in the league.
Kemba Walker – Kemba has been putting Charlotte on his back for the entirety of his career and his work will likely be rewarded this offseason. Philadelphia could be a perfect fit as Walker offers the elite scoring ability from the guard position that the Sixers have lacked.
Although he’s viewed as a dominant ball-handler, which may disrupt Simmons game, Walker does show promise playing off the ball. Kemba has shot over 40% on catch & shoot attempts 3 times out of his last 4 seasons in the league.
Klay Thompson – It’s likely that the California native stays home on the west coast whether that’s with Golden State or either of the Los Angeles teams. Like Leonard though, the Sixers would be foolish to not at least pursue the star shooting guard. Thompson is arguably one of the best catch & shoot players in NBA history and also offers elite production on the defensive side of the ball.
Outside – Others:
Danny Green – One of the key contributors on the Toronto team that knocked Philadelphia out of the playoffs, Green could provide great value as a role player off the bench or even a starter. And with Brown being a former coach of Green in San Antonio, the Sixers may have an inside advantage on other interested teams.
Dewayne Dedmon – Starting for the Hawks the last few seasons, Dedmon has showed his worth in the NBA. With his athleticism and proven defensive production, this former Sixer would be the perfect backup to Embiid.
Patrick Beverly – Offering gritty play and trash talk, Beverly would be n excellent fit for the Sixers from both a culture and talent perspective. Finding a viable backup to Simmons at the point has been on the Sixers list for quite some time.
Marcus Morris – A Philadelphia native and effective wing player, Morris would be great for the Sixers. The 7yr veteran could stretch the floor offensively at the SF/PF positions and his versatility on defense could prove to be very viable down the stretch.
Robin Lopez – As we saw in the postseason, the Sixers lack of a viable backup option for Embiid hurt them mightily. Lopez, although not as versatile as his twin brother in Milwaukee, would be a very solid fit coming off the bench.
Featured Images: ClutchPoints
Jordan is the founder of Sports Are Philly and a graduate of Misericordia University.
You can follow him on Twitter @darealjlaw.