76ers Free Agency Frenzy (Day One Recap)

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Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are Brooklyn Nets, D’Angelo Russell is a Golden State Warrior, and Kemba Walker is a Boston Celtic. Possibly the most anticipated NBA free agency period in history kicked off Sunday night, and boy did it not disappoint. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent, trades were flying left and right, I was glued to my phone all evening and Woj was dropping bomb after bomb. 

Coming into this offseason, it was common knowledge our Philadelphia 76ers were primed for some serious action. With two max-level players hitting the market (Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler), fans knew this team could undergo some serious changes, and change it did. As the first wave of free agency comes to a close, I will be breaking down the first set of moves the Sixers front office made. Explaining contract lengths, trade details, potential future moves, and both the pros and cons of each addition/loss.

 

Tobias Harris: $180M/5 years

Easily the most important deal the 76ers front office made was bringing back star forward Tobias Harris. When the 76ers traded Landry Shamet (along with a plethora of draft capital) at the deadline for Tobias, there was some heavy criticism. Many fans felt it was too risky giving up Shamet for a player who might not even resign. A couple months later the trade proves to be a massive success. The Sixers lock up their 26 year old superstar for 5 more years, a player who has averaged over 18 ppg the last 4 seasons, and a player who has also seen both his shooting and rebounding skills massively develop the last couple years. Massive win, no questions asked. 

 

Jimmy Butler: Traded to the Miami Heat for Josh Richardson

Once the Tobias Harris max extension was announced, it became pretty clear the 76ers didn’t have Jimmy in their long term plans. Less than an hour later, news broke of a sign and trade agreement being completed with the Miami Heat. Butler signed a 4 year $142 million dollar deal with the Heat, and the 76ers get 25 year old SG/SF Josh Richardson in return (as I write this the Mavericks have currently backed out of the original three team deal, however according to Ramona Shelburne the Heat expect to find a third trade partner to dump Goran Dragic’s contract on by July 6th, finalizing the deal ). First, losing Jimmy is in fact a blow. His leadership and clutch abilities will be missed. However, with news leaking out that Elton wasn’t even interested in offering Jimmy a 4 year contract, it’s apparent he was NOT someone they necessarily valued. We have to trust Elton had good reason for this, and thus be grateful we got some value out of him.  

Josh Richardson is someone who greatly interests me. Not only is he younger than Butler, but their stats were relatively comparable (Josh averaged just 2.1 ppg less than Butler in 2019). On top of that Richardson shot better from beyond the arc (2.2 3PM per game compared to just 0.9), adding some much needed shooting to this 76ers team. Obviously Richardson’s statue doesn’t compare to that of Jimmy’s, but he is a young, growing talent who should fit in nicely next to Ben, Tobi and JoJo.

 

Al Horford: $190M/4 years

I knew this deal was rumored but it definitely took me by surprise. Almost immediately after the Butler sign and trade was announced, news broke of the 76ers locking up the former Celtics center. Horford is a 33 year old big man who’s biggest asset the last few seasons has been his defense. I am personally not a huge fan of this deal. It’s a massive contract for a slightly above average player. While Horford does add another strong defensive piece next to Embiid while also providing a solid alternative center for when Joel needs a breather, paying a player $27.25 million when they’re 37 is a recipe for disaster. On top of that I am not even sure how well he will fit this team. He’s never been a lethal shooter from beyond the arc and could very easily just clog up the lane for Simmons and Embiid. Understandably his main role on this team will be as a defensive specialist, but paying someone over $100 million to just “defend” is a tad risky.  Stealing him from the Celtics is a nice plus, but I’ll have to see some serious production from him on the court before I am sold on this one. 

 

JJ Redick: Signed with the Pelicans, $26.5M/2 years

This one hurt on both an emotional level and a statistical level. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have the money to make this one work. JJ has earned every right to go make some cash before he retires, and New Orleans was willing to give him it. Redick was our best 3-point shooter by a mile, replacing that level of floor spacing will be a serious challenge.

 

Mike Scott: $9.8M/2 years

Along with his former Clippers teammate Tobias Harris, Mike Scott decided to run it back and re-sign with the 76ers. Scott took a very team friendly deal (just $4.9M per year), and should continue to be an important piece off our bench. Not only was Scott loved by the fans, but he played extremely well for us down the stretch and seemingly built some good chemistry with the rest of his teammates.

 

Everybody Else

The 76ers still have a lot of free agents on the market, and a lot of holes to fill. Former players like James Ennis, TJ McConnell, Boban Marjanovic, Greg Monroe, and Amir Johnson are all unrestricted free agents at the moment. I expect the 76ers to entertain the idea of bringing back Ennis and Boban, the others are all most likely not returning. I’m not a huge fan of Ennis, I actually found his performances off the bench to be pretty underwhelming and believe we can find someone better in FA (preferably a 3-point shooter). Boban would most likely return strictly because he’s best buds with Tobias. Keep an eye on guys like Danny Green and Nerlens Noel as potential additions. 

 

Make sure to go follow my Twitter to stay up to date with every 76ers move this offseason, I expect there to be some more action in the coming days.

 

Twitter: @phillyinsider99

-David Esser via Philly Sports Insider

 

~stats taken from BasketBall Reference~

~image taken from @SportsCenter~

 

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