Sixers Adam's 2022 Free Agent and Trade Primer
The Sixers just acquired De’Anthony Melton. What’s next?
Adam Aaronson, whose legal name is Sixers Adam (@SixersAdam on Twitter), covers the Sixers for The Rights To Ricky Sanchez. He believes cantaloupe is the best food in existence, and is brought to you by the Official Realtor of The Process, Adam Ksebe.
For the fifth time -- the third with RTRS -- welcome to my Philadelphia 76ers free agency and trade primer.
It seems like every year, I have to tackle a new crisis the Sixers are headed for. And in President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey’s third offseason in Philadelphia, he has some massive decisions to make -- namely, what to do with James Harden, whose deterioration has been very noticeable despite still being a very good player.
Soon enough, we’ll discuss Harden’s possible free agency on top of, well, literally every possible thing that can be discussed when the offseason is coming up.
We will discuss Harden. We will discuss trade opportunities. We will discuss an unholy amount of free agent targets. We will discuss all of the relevant salary cap machinations and rules. By the time you finish this piece, you should be prepared for anything and everything that happens over the next few weeks.
Before we get into what may change, let’s take a look at what is already here. These are the players the Sixers have under contract for next season:
Tobias Harris: Two years, $79.4M remaining on contract
Joel Embiid: Five years, $229M remaining on contract (player option for 2026-27)
De’Anthony Melton: Two years, $16.2M remaining on contract ($1.5M guaranteed in 2023-24
Furkan Korkmaz: Two years, $10.3M remaining on contract
Matisse Thybulle: One year, $4.3M remaining on contract (restricted free agent after 2022-23 season)
Georges Niang: One year, $3.4M remaining on contract
Tyrese Maxey: Two years, $7.0M remaining on contract (team option for 2023-24 restricted free agent after 2023-24 season)
Jaden Springer: Three years, $8.9M remaining on contract (team options for 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons, restricted free agent after 2024-25 season)
Shake Milton: One year, $1.9M remaining on contract
Isaiah Joe: One year, $1.7M remaining on contract (non-guaranteed, restricted free agent after 2022-23 season)
Paul Reed: One year, $1.7M remaining on contract (non-guaranteed, restricted free agent after 2022-23 season)
Charles Bassey: Two years, $3.3M remaining on contract ($74.7K guaranteed, restricted free agent after 2023-24 season)
Sixers free agents
James Harden: Harden has a $46.8M player option for next season, with a decision deadline of June 29. He can either pick that up and play out this upcoming season, pick it up and later negotiate a contract extension, or decline it and become a free agent. It seems inevitable that Harden and the Sixers will come to some sort of agreement -- and the terms of that agreement will ultimately determine the success or failure of the offseason.
Obviously, the Sixers would love to keep Harden on a shorter-term deal after his second consecutive season of tangible deterioration as a scorer. The combination of Harden’s decline and uninspiring playoff performance gives the Sixers very valid reasons for pause.
Harden, of course, will likely seek a longer-term deal, as is his right. But the truth is, the Sixers and Harden need each other right now. The Sixers have nowhere else to find Embiid a sidekick, and Harden doesn’t have any obvious suitors among title-contending teams.
These negotiations will be difficult to follow, but I would imagine that as the amount of Harden’s potential contract years increases, the amount of money he makes per season will decrease.
I don’t think anything -- including a five-year contract -- is off the table here. Ultimately, I think that the two sides will meet in the middle somewhere. If I had to guess how this ends, I would say the sides agree to a three-year arrangement, either one in which Harden picks up his option and then signs a two-year extension, or one in which he opts for free agency and then signs a new three-year deal.
Paul Millsap: With all due respect to Millsap, he shouldn’t be considered a viable option in anyone’s rotation at this point in his career.
DeAndre Jordan: Ditto for Jordan, who has had a wonderful career. As we saw in the second round of the playoffs, he simply no longer impacts the game in a positive fashion.
Charlie Brown Jr.: Brown Jr. potentially nabbing the team’s final roster spot isn’t inconceivable, but if I had to guess, I’d say he’ll be back next year on another two-way deal.
Myles Powell: Powell had a very good season in Delaware, so he could also be brought back on another two-way contract.
Salary Cap: everything you need to know
Every year, I do my best to explain the salary cap rules in the most simple terms possible. So, here we go again --n it’s time for your annual NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement refresher! Here we go:
Cap holds are exactly what they sound like: a placeholder in your salary cap for your unsigned free agents. A player’s cap hold is a certain percentage greater than their salary in the previous season, depending on which level of bird rights the team has on the player. Teams may renounce cap holds to increase their amount of usable cap space, but they in turn permanently forfeit their bird rights when doing so.
What are bird rights? Well, they’re mechanisms to ensure that teams can have a chance to re-sign players regardless of their financial situation. There are three levels of bird rights, determined by how many consecutive years the player has spent with the team. However, bird rights are transferable in trade -- for example, the Pelicans had full bird rights on Anthony Davis two years ago. When they traded him to the Lakers, the clock did not reset -- rather, the Lakers inherited New Orleans’ rights. But if Anthony Davis had spent another year in New Orleans and then signed with the Lakers in the following offseason, LA would only have non-bird rights next season, with the clock resetting.
Here are the three levels of bird rights and what they offer:
Non-bird rights: non-bird free agents are those who have spent one or less consecutive years with their current team. Their teams are allowed to offer them up to 120 percent of their previous year’s salary, regardless of whether or not they are or would be over the salary cap.
Early-bird rights: early-bird free agents have spent two consecutive years with their current team. Their teams are allowed to offer them up to 175 percent of their previous year’s salary, regardless of whether or not they are or would be over the salary cap.
Full-bird rights: full-bird free agents have spent at least three consecutive seasons with their team (or teams, if they were traded in that time). Their team is allowed to offer them any salary up to the NBA’s maximum, regardless of whether or not they are or would be over the salary cap.
One more FAQ before we get to the good stuff: exceptions. There are two types: free agency exceptions and trade exceptions. The Sixers will have access to both this summer. Fortunately, both are relatively simple.
Free agency cap exceptions seem difficult, but they really aren’t. They provide teams… you guessed it: exceptions against the salary cap. What exceptions a team has access to depends on their financial standing. The Sixers have an outside chance of being able to use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception projected to be worth just over $10M. It is more likely, however, that they use the taxpayer mid-level exception, which is worth just over $6M. They are allowed to spend the entirety of their MLE on one higher-profile free agent player, or split it up amongst multiple people.
And, finally, traded player exceptions. TPEs are very similar to the salary cap exceptions I just described. A TPE gives a team a certain amount of money which they can absorb via trade. However, if they use a TPE, they cannot send out any salary in return -- only draft picks or draft rights to international players. TPE’s cannot be combined with one another, but can be used multiple times (they shrink each time they are used). The Sixers only have one trade exception this season, worth just $1.6M from the Harden-Ben Simmons trade. It very likely will not be used.
Before we get to what the Sixers can do moving forward in trades, let’s talk about what they did last night, flipping Danny Green’s $10M salary and the 23rd pick in the Draft to the Memphis Grizzlies for guard De’Anthony Melton.
I predicted a Green-for-Melton trade being possible in my column last week. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
“Clearly, the Sixers would need to either include Thybulle or valuable draft compensation to make this worth doing for the Grizzlies. And while they are a very good team, and very good teams don’t often ship out rotation pieces, the Grizzlies have the luxury of being able to do so thanks to their ridiculous depth. They essentially dumped Grayson Allen last summer, and could easily move Melton for long-term value while maintaining a healthy guard rotation.
Melton, who was drafted by Morey in Houston before being dealt, has turned himself into one of the better reserve guards in the NBA. He’s always been extremely gifted athletically and physically, which contributes to his excellent defense.
The most exciting part about Melton, though, is the way he has rebuilt his jumpshot. When Melton entered the league, shooting was arguably his biggest weakness. But in the last two seasons, he has shot a very solid 38.8 percent from three-point range on 4.7 attempts per game. When you watch him now versus his collegiate days, the eye test backs up the numbers -- his refined shooting stroke is much, much better than it used to be.
Melton would be a particularly fascinating fit alongside Harden as an off-ball player who can take on the most challenging perimeter defensive assignments.”
If you couldn’t tell from Past Adam’s writing, Current Adam is enthusiastic about this deal. To flip a player who was otherwise going to be cut and a late first-round pick with no obvious selection for at least two very cheap years of one of the league’s best bench guards. This was a shrewd move from Morey and his front office, as they just bolstered their rotation in a major way.
Now, let’s get back to future opportunities: it’s often tricky to figure out exactly how much money a team is allowed (or not allowed) to take in a deal. That’s why I did the work for you! Here is the maximum amount of money the Sixers can eat in trades for Korkmaz and Thybulle on their own, as well as combined. The Sixers could also in theory add one of their inexpensive players -- Reed, Bassey or Joe, for example -- and increase their bandwidth.
Korkmaz + Thybulle: $11.8M
As far as who they can get in a trade: well, there are hundreds of players in the NBA. With my luck, the Sixers will find the only option I don’t consider to make me look like an idiot. But I’ve narrowed it down to 30 players who I think are or could be realistic options. Let’s go rapid fire, shall we?
High-priced players will be tough to acquire with Green’s absence. But among the more expensive targets, Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets is the name most commonly brought up right now, and it makes sense: a reunion between Gordon, Harden and Morey would make for an upgrade for all parties involved. Albeit on the high end of the spectrum financially, Gordon would give the Sixers some reliable two-way play as both a guard and a wing who can defend above his size. Another name in that price range that intrigues me is the Indiana Pacers’ Malcolm Brogdon. I’m not sure how Brogdon, Harden and Maxey would coexist, but it would be fascinating to watch. Indiana also has sharpshooter Buddy Hield, who one would imagine is very much available. Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Atlanta Hawks would also give the Sixers a microwave scorer off the bench. He would behoove their offense in a major way.
The next price range is where Morey and co. are more likely to strike, and there are some sensible guard and wing targets in that range. My personal favorite is likely Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of the retooling Washington Wizards, your quintessential 3&D wing who is rock solid. It’s unclear what the Portland Trail Blazers’ plan is with Josh Hart, but the former Villanova star would also give the Sixers some value on both ends of the floor. An option I’m less excited about but view as realistic is Terrence Ross, who the Orlando Magic have been shopping for what feels like a decade. With the Charlotte Hornets possibly looking to dump salary, Kelly Oubre Jr. could be a nice fit here. With their deep rotation, would the New Orleans Pelicans give up Devonte’ Graham? Graham would give the Sixers a welcomed injection of offensive talent, even if he is unreliable defensively. The New York Knicks reportedly want to shed salary as well -- a triumphant return for Alec Burks could be in the cards if the Sixers can stomach the fact that it may take him months to actually arrive in Philadelphia. Cedi Osman of the Cleveland Cavaliers is a sneaky name I like here; his confidence as a three-point shooter and competence defensively make him at least an okay option.
The Sixers are back to not having a clear answer at backup center, and this trade market does feature some players who could help remedy that issue. My favorite option is Kelly Olynyk of the Detroit Pistons, whose shooting and playmaking make him an ideal fit not just as Embiid’s backup, but as someone who can play the four alongside Embiid in two-big lineups. Let’s go on a quick run of former Sixers here: back to New York, our old friend Nerlens Noel could also be a victim of cost-cutting. The Sixers have reportedly had interest in Noel since Morey took over, so this wouldn’t be a total shock. What may be a shock despite being at least equally funny is if the Phoenix Suns make Dario Saric available. Saric has become a full-time center in Phoenix, and we already know he and Embiid can thrive together as well. Richaun Holmes is in a precarious spot with the Sacramento Kings now that Domantas Sabonis is on the roster. Mike Muscala has been a very solid player over the last few years for the Oklahoma City Thunder -- and don’t forget he is the author of what may be one of the more important shots of the last few years for the Sixers, his infamous game-winner in the bubble that ensured the Sixers would receive the first-round pick that became Maxey. Tony Bradley had a tough year with the Chicago Bulls, but did flash potential with the Sixers during his brief stint here. Unfortunately, we also have to cover some of the options who haven’t already played here -- my favorite of those is Larry Nance Jr. of the Pelicans, who very well may be unavailable, but is worth making a call about to be sure. I’m not sure whether to call Jeff Green of the Denver Nuggets a wing or a big at this point, but I suppose that’s part of his appeal. Ditto for OKC’s Kenrich Williams, a longtime favorite of mine.
Another interesting player without a clear-cut position is Kenyon Martin Jr., though my guess is that he will be more valuable to rebuilding teams than to the Sixers. Houston also has two interesting wings in Jae’Sean Tate and David Nwaba, who are very different players but share defensive value and the ability to guard up. Phoenix’s plan for this summer is unclear, but Cameron Payne is coming off a down year and could conceivably be available, especially if they bring back Deandre Ayton and become a luxury tax team. Another cost-cutting option for Phoenix is Torrey Craig, who is nothing special but would at least give the Sixers some security as a wing defender who can take on tough assignments.
A few more names before we get to free agents: guard Cory Joseph had a decent season for the Pistons last year, and could be of service here, as could Justin Holiday of the Kings and New Orleans’ Garrett Temple as competent two-way wings.
Depth is a crucial aspect of team-building in today’s NBA. The easiest way to acquire consistent rotation players is through the free agency process. I firmly believe that drafting should strictly be about value and free agency should be where you attack focused on team needs.
Because they do not have cap space, the Sixers can only sign players using their mid-level exception and minimum contracts.
In a perfect world, the Sixers would be able to open up the non-taxpayer’s MLE, which is worth just over $10M per year and can be offered for up to four years. However, there is a better chance they end up with the taxpayer’s MLE, which is worth just over $6M and can be offered for up to three years. But after acquiring Melton, it’s much more likely that they’ll be using the smaller T-MLE.
So, we’re going to split up the free agent targets by their price range: NT-MLE players (just in case!), T-MLE players, players who could take a portion but not all of the MLE and finally, minimum salary players.
PJ Tucker: The most well-known Sixers target so far, Tucker has ingratiated himself to every team he’s been on in recent years, all of which were championship contenders. He is a champion himself, and even at the age of 37 will command someone’s entire MLE if he leaves Miami. Tucker is an excellent and versatile defender who makes virtually every single hustle play.
Nicolas Batum: Batum seemingly reached the end of the road before having a late-career renaissance with the Clippers, who likely want to bring him back into the fold alongside superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Whoever ends up with Batum will have a solid rotation player who can shoot, defend and give some playmaking.
Gary Payton II: Payton II starred in his role for the champions this season, and is set for one heck of a payday. Payton II is exactly as good on defense as you would expect someone with his name to be, he flourishes on offense as a cutter and finisher, and is a competent three-point shooter. He’s quickly become one of the league’s better role players.
Bruce Brown Jr.: Particularly if Thybulle is moved, Brown Jr. would make a lot of sense in Philadelphia. He’d bring tenacity on the defensive end as well as a unique offensive game that revolves around short-roll passing. Brown Jr. has been able to play alongside Harden to great success in the past. A reunion could make a lot of sense.
Patty Mills: Another former Brooklyn Net, Mills is a sharpshooter extraordinaire who gives a massive boost to any team’s offense. Mills would provide a considerable upgrade from someone like Milton.
Otto Porter Jr.: Another member of the championship-winning Warriors, Porter Jr. lined himself up for some good money, whether that’s in Golden State or elsewhere. Porter Jr. gives any team tremendous size on the wing that allows him to take on some very difficult defensive assignments. He is also an excellent three-point shooter. What’s not to love?
Tyus Jones: Jones has been one of the best -- if not the best -- backup point guards in the NBA. After another stellar year in Memphis, Jones will likely cash in with a noteworthy contract at least at the full MLE if not above it altogether. Jones is a game-manager of sorts, which is totally acceptable from a backup point guard.
Bobby Portis: I don’t think the Sixers would use the bulk of their resources to sign a backup center, but if they did, Portis would be a good player to aim for. As he has shown in Milwaukee, he’s an excellent option at both the four and the five, and is someone who can play with Embiid in addition to being his primary backup.
Chris Boucher: Boucher is of a similar archetype offensively, though he’s a much different player. Boucher seems to turn into the love child of Hakeem Olajuwon and Dirk Nowitzki when he faces the Sixers. If you can’t beat him, sign him? I guess?
TJ Warren: Warren famously exploded in the Bubble and became one of the better scorers in the entire league. Since then, though, we have seen very little of him on the court as he grapples with injury concerns. This would be a risky play from the Sixers, but one that could in theory pay off in a major way if Warren stayed healthy.
Victor Oladipo: This is a similarly risky idea, as Oladipo finally returned from his injury issues and impressed during the playoffs. Oladipo is never going to reach his peak again the way he did in Indiana, but he can be a very useful player for someone.
Donte DiVincenzo (RFA): DiVincenzo was emerging as a very valuable role player for the Bucks early in his career before falling out of favor and being dealt to Sacramento in a four-team deadline deal. The Villanova product is a capable jump-shooter and a useful defensive player.
Gary Harris: Harris may be my favorite target for the price if my amateur valuation turns out to be correct. Harris is coming off an impressive shooting season and would, in combination with Melton, give the Sixers an enormous upgrade as far as point-of-attack defense goes.
Kyle Anderson: Calling Anderson unique is an understatement. He is a point forward who has zero explosiveness whatsoever… and yet, he somehow gets to his spots effectively? Anderson would give the Sixers a nice alternative to Niang, but I’m sure other teams will be able to offer him a larger role.
Joe Ingles: Ingles is coming off an injury-riddled year, and is surely a candidate to see a steep decline in his productivity over the next few years. If he can continue to impact winning, though, there will be a team that gets him for a bargain of a contract. Ingles is an elite shooter who can also serve as a secondary or tertiary ball-handler.
Malik Monk: Monk enjoyed the best season of his career for the LA Lakers this past year, but they have very limited resources when it comes to bringing him back. Monk would be a considerable upgrade over Milton, a much more consistent and reliable offensive player.
Delon Wright: Wright is a longtime favorite of mine, a tall guard who can handle, defend multiple positions and knock down open threes. Wright would be high on my wishlist if I were any contending team, though the Sixers likely found their version of Wright with Melton.
Dennis Schroder: I feel like Schroder has entered the weird territory of being overrated for so long that everyone eventually overcorrected, making him underrated. Anyways, he’s a perfectly nice third guard who can give you a nice punch on the offensive end of the floor. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: with Melton on board, there’s no longer much of a need there.
Goran Dragic: Dragic eventually made his way to Brooklyn after last year’s trade deadline, but was brutally inefficient. A few years ago, I would have loved the idea of Dragic joining the Sixers. But at this point, I’m skeptical that he has much left in the tank.
Ricky Rubio: I honestly have zero clue what Rubio’s free agent market will look like, but I eventually slotted him in this tier. Rubio would likely not be optimized in Philly because of how often Harden and Maxey have the ball, with Melton likely occupying an off-ball role in most of his minutes. But Rubio is a rock solid player who will help somebody quite a bit.
Derrick Jones Jr.: DJJ is known for his incredible athleticism, and that’s part of what makes him an intriguing option for creative teams. He might be an awkward fit here, though I would love to see him collaborate with Harden to form an exciting pick-and-roll partnership, with Jones Jr. being a very good lob threat.
Andre Drummond: Drummond did an excellent job as Embiid’s backup before being part of the Harden-Simmons trade. He went on to play well for Brooklyn, but it’s unclear if he’ll be back, as the Nets also have limited resources. Drummond may have offers from teams who can start him, but if not, a reunion would make a lot of sense for all parties involved.
Kevon Looney: Looney likely isn’t leaving the Warriors after the playoff run they just had. Regardless, he would easily be one of the few best backup centers in the NBA if he signed with the Sixers.
Thomas Bryant: Bryant’s had a bit of an odd career so far, but he is an improved shooter with somewhat encouraging passing numbers. Bryant is clearly a solid offensive player.
Serge Ibaka: Ibaka’s time in Milwaukee was disappointing, but he still is the exact type of player that would be ideal as Embiid’s backup: a stretch five who can protect the rim, and play the four at times if needed. If the Sixers aren’t convinced that Ibaka is washed up, they should consider making a run at HIM.
Less than the taxpayer’s MLE but more than the minimum
Caleb Martin (RFA): Caleb Martin shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc last season for Miami while also serving as a reliable wing defender. He would be a solid two-way addition for a Sixers team that needs wing depth.
Cody Martin (RFA): You know I had to mention both brothers! Cody Martin is, not surprisingly, very similar to his twin brother, but is definitely better with the ball in his hands despite not being as good of a shooter.
Bryn Forbes: Forbes is an excellent three-point shooter, who likely doesn’t offer much else at a high level. But you can never have enough shooting!
Jeremy Lamb: If Lamb can get healthy -- and that’s a huge if -- he could be one of the steals of free agency for whoever nabs him. Lamb has a track record as a solid offensive player who is far from disastrous on defense. He could be one of the better offensive players in a good rotation if he’s at his best.
Wesley Matthews: Matthews will likely remain in Milwaukee if he chooses to continue playing, but the Sixers should at least make a call. Matthews remains an excellent defensive wing and is more than capable from beyond the arc.
Taurean Prince: Prince doesn’t have any standout skills, but he also doesn’t have any standout weaknesses -- and for a wing his size, that in itself can be very valuable.
Josh Okogie (RFA): Okogie seems to have fallen out of favor in Minnesota, but impressed as a defender early on in his career, powered by his excellent athleticism.
Carmelo Anthony: Anthony is a spot-up shooter primarily, as his scoring efficiency has dipped. He’ll likely sign on with a contender who has more minutes to offer him than the Sixers do.
Thaddeus Young: A reunion with Young probably doesn’t make much sense unless Niang is moved. But Young can still defend, and has become able to slide up to the five at times.
Isaiah Hartenstein: Hartenstein, a former Morey draft pick, had an excellent season serving as the Clippers’ backup center. He’s earned a payday above the minimum, and would be a welcomed addition here.
JaVale McGee: As far as lob threats go, McGee may be the best you’ll find on the open market this summer. He would be a sensible fit alongside Harden.
Hassan Whiteside: In past years I’ve excluded Whiteside from these pieces, assuming there’s no way he would be open to backing up Embiid. But after Drummond signed on to do so last year, I am on alert for anything. Whiteside is an elite rebounder and can block shots.
Kemba Walker: Walker is expected to be bought out by the Detroit Pistons after being part of a trade last night. His demise has been a quick one, but at least some teams will think he has it in him to become at least productive again.
Raul Neto: Why not start off with the Sixers legend himself? In all seriousness, I still believe Neto is a perfectly fine reserve point guard. He can be physically overwhelmed at times due to his small frame, but in like-sized matchups he holds up well.
Lou Williams: Unfortunately, it seems like Williams is nearing the end of his career, and his efficiency has dipped in recent years after already being suspect.
DJ Augustin: Augustin is a player who I used to covet for the Sixers for a long time. He’s getting up there in age, but even at 34 he is a very good three-point shooter who can help run an offense.
Jevon Carter: Carter is a hound on the defensive end and has improved as a shooter. With perimeter playmakers like Harden and Maxey already on the roster, Carter could make sense here -- though he may be a bit redundant with Melton.
Elfrid Payton: Another former Sixer! Payton has simply never solved his shooting woes, and that makes him unappealing to me.
Rajon Rondo: Rondo is well past his prime at this point. Frankly, I would be disappointed if the Sixers used a roster spot on him at this stage of his career.
Austin Rivers: Rivers is often the subject of jokes, but he has improved quite a bit over the years. He plays hard on defense and can knock down threes. He won’t blow you away with any singular skill, but he’s definitely an NBA player.
Avery Bradley: A hound on the defensive end, Bradley is a longtime favorite of Doc Rivers, who coached him in Boston and LA. Bradley is hardly a rotation-caliber offensive player, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Sixers brought him into the fold.
Jarrett Culver: Once a highly-touted prospect, Culver has simply not caught on as part of anyone’s rotation. The Sixers are likely not going to use a roster spot on a developmental project given their current standing.
Troy Brown Jr.: Brown Jr. was on the fringes of Chicago’s rotation last season. If he can become a more consistent shooter, he will be an interesting prospect to follow.
Damion Lee: Cut out of the Warriors’ rotation deep into the playoffs, Lee was a victim of Golden State’s depth more than anything else. He is a very good shooter with decent size.
Kent Bazemore: Once a quintessential 3&D wing, Bazemore has struggled to find consistent minutes over the last few years. His time as an NBA rotation player may be up.
Tony Snell: Snell is a run-of-the-mill depth wing. I’m going to use this as an opportunity to present a fun fact: Snell has not missed a single free throw in an NBA game since March of 2019.
Rodney Hood: Hood’s career has been plagued with injuries. He is the ultimate theoretical player: a long, tall wing who can shoot. Unfortunately, since being dealt by the Jazz he has failed to catch on with another team.
Danuel House: Another Morey favorite, House parlayed his opportunity in Houston into a multi-year NBA contract. He spent most of last season on the fringes of Utah’s rotation.
Ben McLemore: McLemore is an excellent shooter, but he doesn’t have much else going for him on an NBA floor. If Korkmaz is moved, he could be a reasonable replacement on a minimum deal.
Rodney McGruder: After initially appearing to be an interesting prospect, McGruder has failed to leave his mark anywhere.
Juan Toscano-Anderson (RFA): Also a victim of GSW’s depth, JTA should be a guy that plenty of teams target. He is an excellent athlete and defensive player.
Markieff Morris: A Philly native, Morris would add some size and depth on the wing. However, he likely isn’t good enough to be handed a rotation spot at this point.
Isaac Bonga: Bonga is a multi-positional defender, but has failed to carve out a role for himself due to his shooting struggles.
Jake Layman: Layman has decent per-possession numbers over the course of his career, but has never consistently been a high-value role player.
Blake Griffin: Onto the bigs, Griffin excelled in his first year with the Brooklyn Nets, but struggled mightily last season and was on the outskirts of the rotation for much of the year. He would be a creative option to potentially back up Embiid, though, and Griffin does have experience playing for Doc Rivers.
Nemanja Bjelica: A kind of former Sixer (you know the story), Bjelica won a ring with Golden State this year. But with James Wiseman’s return looming, he could look elsewhere for playing time. He is a good shooter and passer for someone of his size.
Dwight Howard: Howard was an acceptable backup center for most of his time with the Sixers, up until the playoffs came around. He struggled in some key matchups before departing for LA.
Dewayne Dedmon: Dedmon showed in Miami last season that he has some more left in the tank. He isn’t going to blow you away, but he is at least competent.
LaMarcus Aldridge: Aldridge also has not yet emptied the tank entirely, but he is certainly on the downside of his career. Harden would probably prefer a pick-and-roller rather than a pick-and-popper like Aldridge.
Gorgui Dieng: Dieng has a similar issue, that he is more of a popper than a roller. Regardless, he’s a useful backup center worth consideration.
Bismack Biyombo: Biyombo came out of nowhere to have a productive season for Phoenix last season as their third center. He may have an opportunity to secure a true backup role this summer.
Robin Lopez: Lopez has become a surprisingly capable offensive player in recent years thanks to a signature hook shot. Lopez also averaged a career-high 4.3 assists per 100 possessions last season.
Ed Davis: Davis, who has been in the league for over a decade now, is a bit undersized for a center, but has been productive in the past. However, it’s been three years since he had a regular role in a rotation.
Damian Jones: Jones played by far the most minutes of his career last season as a reserve center for the Sacramento Kings.
Tristan Thompson: Thompson is a very good rebounder, but is limited otherwise. He spent time with three different teams (Sacramento, Indiana, Chicago) last season.
DeMarcus Cousins: Cousins was surprisingly productive at times for the Denver Nuggets last year thanks to his offensive abilities. At this stage of his career, he is more of a floor spacer than anything else.
100+ players and thousands of words later, we’ve reached the end of this year’s offseason primer. Thank you to anybody who somehow got this far without wanting to kill me for making the piece so damn long. Happy signing and trading, everyone!