The Philadelphia 76ers are in a great position for the upcoming offseason. They have plenty of money to throw at free agents, a numerous amount of young and enticing players that should be attractive to free agents, including whoever they draft with the 3rd pick in the NBA Draft, and a franchise cornerstone to build around in Joel Embiid. The options for the team seem limitless. Bryan Colangelo has many difficult decisions to make. Should he trade away Jahlil Okafor? Should he sign the hometown kid in Kyle Lowry? Should he trade the third overall pick for an established star in the league?
The first thing the Sixers need to do is focus on the upcoming draft. Assuming Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball are off the board when the Sixers choose 3rd, Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson look like the next best available players. Jackson could potentially be the best two-way player in the draft. The only problem is his shooting, which is a concern when it comes to fitting in next to Ben Simmons.
Then there is Jayson Tatum, a “tweener” forward who is very polished offensively and could take off some scoring weight from the shoulders of Joel Embiid. Although Josh Jackson has plenty of potential, the best option for the Sixers would be to take Jayson Tatum from Duke.
They could possibly trade the pick for a star in the league. Jimmy Butler and Paul George are rumored to be on the trading block but they both seem to be destined to go to other destinations. Butler has been heavily linked to the Boston Celtics and George to the Los Angeles Lakers. Possibly trading for a player who appears to want to be elsewhere and will most likely walk away next season(Paul George) and another player who will most likely be outbid for in the trade market (Jimmy Butler) doesn’t seem like a good idea.
The offseason is one of the most exciting times for NBA GMs. The Sixers have approximately over 46 million dollars in cap space to play around with. Given that there are rumors floating around regarding mutual interest between the Toronto Raptors’ all-star point guard Kyle Lowry and the 76ers, this number works heavily in the team’s favor. Lowry has said that his only deciding factor in his upcoming free agency will be wanting to win a championship ring. The 76ers are not the team to join if that is the case. However, Lowry could decide to join the Sixers if they offer him a 4 year max contract. Lowry would absolutely entertain the idea of going home and playing with two possible superstars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. If Lowry were to join the Sixers, it would show the rest of the league that the team is no longer in rebuilding mode and they are serious about winning. Bryan Colangelo should absolutely throw max money at Kyle Lowry this offseason.
Another possible free agent option for Colangelo is sharpshooter J.J. Redick. Redick and his beautiful shooting stroke would fit wonderfully next to Simmons and Embiid. The Sixers could overpay Redick for two or three seasons and give them a starting caliber shooting guard until something better comes along. He could help this young team grow and could be a great influence, particularly on Nik Stauskas, who has plenty of shooting potential and has finally began to hone into it this past season.
If the 76ers decide to chase Redick, they should have enough money to chase after another 2nd tier free agent such as former Sixer point guard Jrue Holiday or offensive point guard Patty Mills. There’s also the possibility of them skipping over Lowry and Redick and overpaying Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in hopes that he can blossom into an elite two way player. Signing Kyle Lowry to a 4 year max contract should be the first thing they do in free agency.
How could we not forget the Jahlil Okafor situation? His trade value has plummeted since the Sixers pulled him out of the lineup halfway through the season along with the fact that everyone knows that the Sixers are actively trying to move him. Bryan Colangelo is going to have to accept the fact that he doesn’t fetch a high first round draft pick. He’ll most likely have to settle for a late first or a rotation player and a second round pick. Jahlil Okafor has to be moved. He doesn’t fit in Brett Brown’s system and Richaun Holmes has become a very capable backup center to Joel Embiid.
After the offseason is over with, the Sixers could maybe…just maybe have a team that can make a run for the playoffs. A potential starting five of Kyle Lowry, Jerryd Bayless, Ben Simmons, Jayson Tatum and Joel Embiid would be more than scary to say the least. The second unit would be in capable hands with T.J. McConnell and Rookie of the Year candidate Dario Saric running the show. The 76ers have the chance to have their first winning season since the 2011-2012 season and a chance to compete in the playoffs if they follow this blueprint. No matter how their offseason goes, we just have to continue to “Trust the Process”.
Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports