The Sixers’ offseason is off to a hot start. They made news by flipping Danny Green and the 23rd pick for De’Anthony Melton on draft night to kick off the period. James Harden elected to opt out of his $47.4 million player option in favor of a more team-friendly deal. The Beard will surely headline the Sixers’ free agency as both sides intend on a return. The willingness to take the short-term pay cut in favor of more long-term security worked for both sides. Daryl Morey will now have much more financial flexibility to work with as he attempts to complete the roster.
While their cap flexibility is much better than it was expected to be prior to the opt-out, the Sixers still must be selective in their moves. It seems all but a certainty that PJ Tucker will be joining the Sixers which will be a notable addition. However, there are still holes that need to be filled to complete the team. Here are three low-cost guard targets for the Sixers to evaluate.
3 Low-Cost Guard Targets for Sixers:
While there would be a reasonable concern about adding another player at the tail end of his career, Wesley Matthews would be a positive addition for the Sixers. The 35-year-old is a defensive-minded guard who would be a valuable perimeter defender in Philadelphia. Matthews has made a successful transition from starting-caliber talent to an impactful bench player in the latter stages of his career. Last season with the Bucks he averaged 5.1 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. He also is a career 37.7% three-point shooter.
As the Sixers have found in recent years, the skillset for role players in the playoffs differs compared to the regular season. This is where Wesley Matthews would show his true value. Last season he saw his minutes increase from 20.4 minutes in the regular season to 28.8 minutes per game in the postseason with the Milwaukee Bucks. His two-way ability would be a massive asset to the Sixers and at a low cost. The veteran is coming off a minimum deal with the Bucks for just under $2 million last season. This would be a comfortable cost for Philadelphia and one that Matthews could greatly outplay his value.
Lonnie Walker IV
A native of Reading Pennsylvania, Lonnie Walker IV is just 23-years-old and still coming into the prime of his career. The 6’4″ guard has a 6’10” wingspan and an athletic pop that would be impactful on the Sixers. Last season with the Supers he averaged 12.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. He had a disappointing shooting performance but shot over 40% on three-pointers just two seasons ago.
The best days of Lonnie Walker IV are still ahead of him and adding him to the bench rotation would be a major help to the Sixers. He is sure to demand a higher cut of the salary cap, but Walker would be a worthwhile candidate to do this for. Pairing him alongside De’Anthony Melton with the second unit would create the best bench impact the Sixers have seen in years.
It has been a rapid fall from graces for Kemba Walker. The four-time all-star is an electrifying talent who once averaged 25.6 points per game. While it feels like it has been a long time since he was a high-level contributor, it has been just two years since Walker made an all-star game.
After spending last season with the New York Knicks, Walker was traded in a three-team deal that landed him with the Detroit Pistons. This was a move by the Knicks with the intention to create cap space for the looming addition of Jalen Brunson. Detroit was not looked at as an ideal landing spot for Walker and the two sides agreed to work toward a buyout. This makes Cardiac Kemba an unrestricted free agent with each team given an opportunity to sign him.
At 32 years old, Kemba Walker still certainly has several years left in the tank. He is at the stage in his career where he is transitioning from a high-usage player to an impact role player. The Sixers would be an excellent location for him to make this progression as he would be a valuable backup guard. The value of Kemba Walker is seemingly at an all-time low and Philadelphia has a chance to capitalize. Even in a perceived disappointing season last year, he still averaged 11.6 points, 3.5 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game. Giving him a chance to rebuild his value and a chance to win is an appealing offer to send to Kemba Walker and one that can work for both sides.
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