The Philadelphia 76ers are extremely talented, but the team is clearly lacking a floor-spacing big man. Could the answer be in free agency?
Dwight Howard is simply not cutting it. He’s been an extremely valuable member of the team, but his fit with Ben Simmons is among the worst in the league. Mike Scott hasn’t been much better (from a fit perspective), frankly leaving the Sixers with a gaping hole in games when Embiid is out of the lineup.
The Sixers need a stretch big, and though they have one, they won’t play Paul Reed because he’s supposedly not ready. With that being the case, who are some free agents who could space the floor for Philly?
The following players are currently employed but may be bought out of their current deals.
Not much of a stretch option but if James Johnson is bought out by New Orleans, Philadelphia should be very interested in the fiery vet. Johnson is currently averaging 6.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and shooting 29.7% from deep.
Kelly Olynyk would likely be on the first flight to Boston if the Houston Rockets were to buy him out but he is the most talented player on this entire list so of course, the Sixers should be interested.
He will always be remembered for what he did to Kevin Love but Olynyk has had a (mostly) clean record since, it’s doubtful that’s any part of the Sixers potential decision to sign him.
It’s astonishing that the Oklahoma City Thunder have yet to reach a buyout agreement with Mike Muscala considering they’ve clearly given up on the season. Muscala has been benched shockingly because he’s too good to play for the team.
So why hasn’t he reached a buyout? Well often times that will mean the player doesn’t have many, or any, suitors. The Sixers though should be interested and they should make that clear to whomever they have to to get the ball rolling.
Philadelphia 76ers Free Agent Options
Even after four seasons in the NBA, Thon Maker is still a mystery. Is he good? Can he be great? The likely answer to both of these questions is, well, no. But can Thon maker be good enough to help fix the Sixers bench woes? Maybe?
Maker has the most potential of anyone on this list, but it’s unlikely for him to reach that level considering the minimal movement we’ve seen so far. Maker over his career has averaged 12.1 points per 36 minutes while shooting 32.7% from deep.
You’ll have to use the term “stretch” lightly when talking about Maker. Still, he has proven to be a solid corner-three specialist shooting 35.5% over his career. He’s a little stiff, but if the Sixers are looking for a man to defend the rim and hit corner threes, Thon Maker is the best man available. Maybe he can kick the team into gear.
Over his career, DeMarre Caroll has been a small forward but has moved to power forward over the previous three years. While he’s not the player he’s been, Carroll may still have something left in the tank. He only made it 24 games into the season last year, but all that means is he’s as fresh as ever.
Carroll is a career 35.8% shooter from three, which should have Ben Simmons salivating as it’s one more three-point assist target for Simmons. Carroll is also solid defensively and, more importantly, versatile.
The 34-year-old veteran would be able to defend both forward spots and even some small-ball centers. Imagine a worse version of prime P.J. Tucker or a better version of current P.J. Tucker; that’s DeMarre Carroll.
The Villanova alumnus finds himself out of the league even though he’s shown some flashes in his short time. Why would a young stretch big find himself out of the NBA so soon? Well, it all comes down to desire.
Omari Spellman has struggled mightily to manage his weight/conditioning since entering the league. He was listed as high as 315 pounds and as low as 259.2 between his time with the Hawks, Warriors, Timberwolves, and Knicks (never playing for the Wolves or Knicks).
Spellman most recently played for the G League Erie BayHawks. While his time there was anything but inspiring, a chance to work with Doc Rivers could be the kick he needs to revive his career. After all, we’ve seen how Rivers has impacted and motivated Joel Embiid. Who’s to say lightning can’t strike twice.
What Will/Should They Do?
The honest truth is that there are no exciting stretch bigs left. The Philadelphia 76ers clearly gambled and lost at the trade deadline (in terms of adding a stretch big) and now have to suffer the consequences.
The Sixers are unlikely to add another player from the open market, at least until more names enter the buyout market. April 9th is the deadline for added players to be playoff eligible, so they’re up against the clock, but if the current players are the best available, Omari Spellman has the best combination of current/future value.