Sixers Lead

5 Free Agent Targets for the 76ers

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The Sixers’ 2018-19 season is in the rearview mirror and it’s time to look forward to the offseason. First year General Manager, Elton Brand, will certainly have his hands full as he tries to acquire the proper talent to push the Sixers over the edge.  Notable free agents within the Sixers organization include SF Jimmy Butler, PF Tobias Harris, and SG J.J. Redick.

“Pre-Agency”, a phrase coined by former NBA player and Michigan legend Jalen Rose, is best described as when players communicate with each other at the tail end of the season in order to team up with one another once they enter free agency together. Due to the “Pre-Agency” rumors, some notable free agents such as Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving have showed their hands perhaps. The Sixers may not be on the top of their lists and therefore will not be on this one.

5. Tobias Harris

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We start off this list with the starting small forward for your Philadelphia 76ers, Tobias Harris. Harris was acquired in a six-player deal with the Los Angeles Clippers in early February. This Sixers paid a steep price for Harris, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott, sending L.A. two second-round picks in 2021 and 2023. Forwards Mike Muscala and Wilson Chandler were included in the deal.

However, the Sixers gambling on a one-year rental of Harris might just pay off if they can get him to stay for a near-max deal. Harris is a seasoned veteran who has bounced around from five different teams during his nine-year career. Although Harris is a Brooklyn native and the idea of playing with a young Nets team sounds enticing, the Sixers are clearly in a win-now mode and can offer the most money than any other team.

4. Julius Randle

Julius Randle is coming off a career year playing alongside Anthony Davis in New Orleans. The former Los Angeles Laker signed a two-year, $18 million deal with the Pelicans this past offseason. 2018 proved to be his best year yet, where he averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. Randle also made history this past season, becoming just the fourth player in NBA history to record a triple-double in 25 minutes or less.

Acquiring Randle would be challenging for the Sixers, as the young stud now has the opportunity to play with his future teammate Zion Williamson in New Orleans. However, with the Pelicans almost guaranteed to select Williamson, would the duo mesh well together? Randle and Williamson show many similarities on the court with there physical play and freakish athletic frames. If the Sixers were to lose Tobias Harris to free agency, Randle would be an excellent replacement and would fill out the PF role nicely.

3. Jimmy Butler

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Jimmy Buckets becomes the second current Sixer to grace this free agency list. The acquisition of Jimmy Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves proved to be a fruitful one. The Sixers once again took a gamble on a guy who has had a reputation as a bad teammate and was also under contract for just one year. However, that didn’t deter the Sixers from sending over Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Jerryd Bayless, and a 2022 second-round draft pick for Butler and Justin Patton.

Butler looked like the Sixers’ most reliable player on some nights, averaging 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Not to mention he did come up big in multiple high-pressure situations. Butler hit a clutch three in overtime against the Hornets to seal the win, and just nine days later he pulled out that same three-point dagger against the Brooklyn Nets to lead them to another nail-biting victory. Butler’s big moments arose in the playoffs as well, most noticeably the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Down just two, Butler drove to the rim and finished off with a layup to tie the game 90-90 with just 4.2 seconds left.

The 76ers need Butler’s leadership and shot creating and will looks to offer Butler a max contract for his efforts. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst stated this on The Hoop Collective podcast “I’ve been talking to some executives this week and the executives, I think, now believe that the Sixers will [offer a max contract],” he said. “I don’t know about the fifth year, like, full guaranteed, but yeah.” 

2. Kemba Walker

AP Photo

Its time for Kemba Walker’s lackluster Charlotte Hornets career to end. The 29-year-old guard is too talented to be toiling in the bottom of an already weak Eastern Conference with a team that clearly cant draft talent around him. Walker had a great 2018-19 season, earning his 3rd All-Star appearance while posting a career high in points per game with 25.6. Walker is easily the best player on a 39-win Hornet team who has to make a critical decision this offseason. Does Walker accept a max contract offer from the Hornets? Or would he rather experience post season success with the Sixers?

Walker would provide a much needed scoring boost to the Sixers if J.J. Redick leaves in free agency. Although Ben Simmons usually runs at point, Walker could easily be used as a combo guard playing the two and also the one when Simmons is at small forward.

1. Klay Thompson

Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

My mouth is salivating just at the thought of Klay Thompson in a Sixers uniform next season. Easily the number one free agent that needs to be on the Sixers radar this offseason. Thompson is a 3x NBA Champion, 5x all-star and 1/2 of the legendary splash brothers duo. Thompson is usually perceived as the Robin to Steph Curry’s Batman. With a change of scenery, Thompson can prove just how great of a player he is and can also more money contractually if making the switch to the Eastern Conference. Thompson was recently snubbed from the All-NBA team this season thus not being able to receive a “supermax” contract.

While Thompson has a west coast vibe to him a fresh start in Philly would allow him to fully unleash his offensive prowess. As everyone knows, the Warriors are a stacked team boasting multiple All-Stars and future Hall of Famers. However, with all the talent the Warriors have Thompson usually is the third option behind Splash Brother Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. As mentioned before, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Thompson stayed with the Warriors if KD leaves to pursue new challenges.

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About Darrien Null

Hometown: Strasburg, PA. Contributor for Sixers Lead.

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