There is no doubt that there are needs for the Sixers before heading into next season. However, Elton Brand and the front office will need to get creative due to the small amount of money that will be available to the team. Since they will be handcuffed by the salary cap, they likely will have one decent contract to offer (or a few small deals) due to the taxpayer mid-level exception that will give them just under $6 million to work with.
Names like Joe Harris and Davis Bertans jump off the page as great fits for the Sixers, but these dreams are not meant to be filled due to the lack of available funds. This changes the conversation to searching for a quality role player that can make an immediate impact rather than a long-term solution to the glaring spacing issues. So Elton Brand and the rest of the team should head into free agency with his sights set on the bargain bin and here are some names to watch:
Wing options for the Sixers
This is the most glaring and obvious target for free agency. Adding a volume shooter or a legitimate role player that can be relied on would go a long way to strengthening up the bench. While guys like Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, and Zhaire Smith certainly are guys to be excited about, the team lacks a legitimate veteran presence that could stabilize the reserves.
A lot has been said about Jeff Green throughout his career. After being the 5th overall pick in the draft in 2007, Green was largely viewed as a disappointment for never living up to the potential he undoubtedly showed. His stats have been up and down throughout consistently, but Green has settled into his role as a bench contributor over the past few seasons.
He is not a lights-out shooter but knocks down 3’s at a respectable 33.4% and pairs this with impressive athleticism. While it seems like the concept of modeling the Sixers after the Rockets organization has thankfully been put to a halt, Green would be a nice piece to pick up from the team. He primarily played the small-ball big-man role with the Rockets, but Green has also proven to be solid in a wing role and also has upside as a stretch 4 that could give Tobias Harris a rest and compliment Joel Embiid.
The biggest appeal to Jeff Green comes with the contract that it will likely take to attain him. Last season saw Green play under the veterans minimum with the Rockets which equates to about $695,000 on the season. At 34-years-old, it is likely his days of raking up high-value contracts are over, but there is impressive value with getting a guy who averaged 12.2 points per game last year on such a cheap deal.
When Marco Belinelli last wore a Sixers jersey, times were better. There were thousands of Sixers fans packed into the Wells Fargo Center to watch a lineup of Embiid, Simmons, Robert Covington, JJ Redick, and Dario Saric win 52 games on the season. This was the best built Sixers roster in recent years and the team looked great until the Celtics knocked them from the playoffs in the Conference Semi-Finals. While Belinelli only played 28 games for the Sixers, he made a significant impact by coming off the bench and adding a great shooting touch. He shot 38.5% from 3 and averaged 13.6 points per game in his time with the team.
Marco will likely take up the entire money from the taxpayer exception so the Sixers must be confident this is the right decision. If a proper trade is found it is possible this is the missing piece as Belinelli is a potential piece that could take a team over the edge. Marco is coming off a year in which his minutes were cut which soured the talks of him wanting to stay with the Spurs long-term. He may be 34-years-old, but Belinelli is an exact fit for what the Sixers roster was missing by being a willing shooter who converts at a high rate. Last season, Belinelli shot 52.9% of his field-goal attempts on the catch-and-shoot, which was seemingly an unknown concept to most of the Sixers roster.
With one of the more interesting backstories out of the free-agent options, Allonzo Trier should also be considered a major question mark going into free agency. Trier was undrafted in 2018 and bounced back and forth from the Knicks and their G-League affiliate so far throughout his short career. Trier has always flashed the talent, with accolades like leading his side in scoring at the high-school McDonalds All-American game and being named Co-MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic. Allonzo also shined in college during his time at Arizona before being ruled ineligible due to testing positive for a banned substance.
On the court, Trier is an extremely talented isolation scorer. While the defensive side of his game needs some work, Trier’s scoring ability is enough to earn him a legitimate NBA contract offer. He runs the fast-break well, can finish through contact around the rim, and has a smooth jumper that he shoots confidently. His 3 point percentage has been 38.4% in the NBA so far in his career and he has the potential to develop into an elite level bench scorer. Trier could be a nice rotational piece that could provide the Sixers with a nice scoring burst.
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Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire
Lifelong Philly Sports fan and current college student at Alvernia University. Writes about Sixers and Phillies and Co-Host of Pick Swap Podcast
Twitter: @Sean_Barnard1 and @PickSwapPod