James Harden has officially taken more than $14 million less than his player option to re-sign with the Sixers. In an interview with Chris Haynes, Harden said, “I told Daryl (Morey) to improve the roster, sign who we needed to sign, and give me whatever is leftover… this is how bad I want to win”.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Harden has signed a two-year deal with the second year as a player option. His base salary for 2022-2023 is listed by Spotrac at $32,980,769. The Sixers have about $3.4 million in space left before the Tax Apron.
Before getting into targets, let’s clarify the Tax Apron. The Tax Apron is the NBA Hard Cap. Ways to trigger the Hard Cap include a sign-and-trade, using the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception, and/or the Bi-Annual Exception. The Sixers have utilized both the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception and the Bi-Annual Exception by signing P.J Tucker and Daniel House.
The Tax Apron is set at $156,938,000 for the 2022-2023 season. The Sixers’ salaries cannot exceed the apron at any point during this season. It is unlikely that the Sixers will make a huge deal now that Harden’s contract is officially in the books, but a mid-level deal is certainly still on the table. The targets that are highlighted address at least one area of weakness from last season’s Sixers team.
Sixers’ Trade Target No. 3 | Patrick Beverley
If Daryl Morey and company are trying to bring in strictly former Rockets players, the 34-year-old guard would be the next on the list. Patrick Beverley fills multiple weaknesses of last year’s team. Perimeter defending and playmaking off the bench.
Beverley is known for his peskiness, which helps him disrupt opposing ball-handlers. According to NBA.com, he only allowed shooters to about 29 percent from three last season. That would help a Sixers team who ranked tenth last season in defended three-point field goal percentage.
Over the last few seasons, fans have seen the Sixers’ bench lineups struggle to create for themselves and others. Beverley can help in that area as he often looks to make the extra pass. Last year Beverley averaged more than four-and-a-half assists a game, the highest of his career.
The Utah guard has one year and $13 million left on his current contract. The Sixers will need to trade at least $9.6 million in outgoing salary to obtain Beverley to stay under the Tax Apron, based on Spotrac’s cap numbers.
Right now, it appears that the Jazz is trying to obtain as many draft picks as possible. The Sixers don’t have any first-round picks to send the Jazz, but they do have a former first-round pick in Jaden Springer the team can center a potential trade around.
A package of Jaden Springer, Furkan Korkmaz, and Georges Niang would send about $10.5 million in salary, thus reaching the threshold. The Sixers would still need to send future pick(s) in the deal if the Jazz were to accept this theoretical deal. Two future seconds possibly one in 2023 and 2024, may get this theoretical deal done.
Any deal surrounding Patrick Beverley cannot be completed until August 30th. This is based on league rules since Beverley was just traded at the beginning of the month from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Dallas Mavericks wing has been a name thrown around Sixers’ Twitter fairly often this offseason. Bullock, a prototypical three-and-D wing, would fit smoothly into the Sixers rotation. Bullock would fill a much-needed void left by Danny Green. He can come off screens and defend opposing teams’ best guards. Last season his catch-and-shoot percentage from deep was 37.4 percent.
He is not nearly at the level of Matisse Thybulle’s defense, but he would fit perfectly in the lineup next to James Harden and Joel Embiid. His offense would be able to keep him on the floor. A huge question that has been linked with Thybulle throughout his career.
Bullock has 2 years left on his current deal, with about $20 million left on his deal. To stay below the Tax Apron, the Sixers will need to trade at least $6.6 million in salary.
The Mavericks have championship aspirations a deal centered around Thybulle and either Korkmaz or Niang, for cap purposes, would work. The Sixers may be able to get a second-round pick, in addition to Bullock, to use as an asset in the future. Daryl Morey could push for a first-round pick, but the odds of the Sixers being able to receive one from the Mavericks are not likely.
Just last week, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer joined Philly Sports Network’s The Baseline Scoop podcast informing listeners that both the Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers are not totally out on Thybulle yet.
It’s been known all offseason that Portland has had an interest in Thybulle. The target the Sixers should be interested in bringing to Philadelphia in a potential Thybulle deal is Josh Hart.
The former Villanova Wildcat would bring scoring and playmaking off the bench. Hart averaged nearly 15 points and more than four assists a game, both career highs. After being traded from New Orleans to Portland, he averaged nearly 20 points a game in 13 games.
Hart is not used best in catch-and-shoot situations. He would benefit in running the second unit when Harden is off the floor. Hart can play off of Joel Embiid by attacking the rim and finding either cutters or shooters off the wing; after the defense is scrambling to defend after a pass out of the post from Embiid.
Josh Hart can become an unrestricted free agent next summer by opting out of his deal. This year he is set to earn nearly $13 million. The Sixers would need $9.6 million in outgoing salary. Based on Jake Fischer’s reporting, and based on the Blazers wanting to win now, it seems likely Thybulle would be the centerpiece of this deal.
The Sixers can attach Korkmaz’s salary as well as one of Isaiah Joe, Trevelin Queen, Shake Milton, or Niang to reach the $9.6 million threshold to stay under the Tax Apron. The Sixers would most likely try to trade either Milton or Joe in this scenario. Both may be on the outside looking into the rotation this season.