What’s on the horizon for Tyrese Maxey?

Tyrese Maxey
Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey (0) gestures after making a 3-point shot during the second half of Game 4 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, April 22, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

As Tyrese Maxey sat across from Lauren Rosen during an interview at the start of last season, he flashed his infectious smile and answered questions about his family and work ethic. One year later, he has the potential to smile even brighter, depending on the outcome of contract extension talks. 

Since that interview, Maxey elevated his game even more than the previous year, averaging 20.3 points per game and finishing the season as the fifth-best 3-point shooter in the entire NBA at 43.4 percent. As the 21st pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Maxey has exceeded many expectations and improved in every aspect of his game. So, will the Sixers offer him a contract extension?

Negotiations on the way for Sixers, Maxey

Maxey
Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) celebrates after a basket against the Boston Celtics during the second half of Game 5 in the NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series, Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

As Maxey’s rookie contract is set to expire next year, he is eligible for a 5-year contract up to $213 million, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. With Maxey’s mature approach and stellar play last season, even most casual NBA fans would agree that Philly needs to lock him up before he can become a restricted free agent. Money-wise, it is easier said than done.

Much of what the 76ers hope to do this offseason depends on what James Harden decides since he is expected to weigh his options, trying to make up his mind on where he wants to sign. Whether Harden returns to Philly or heads back to Houston, Tyrese Maxey will most likely try and secure a deal in the realm of what Jordan Poole signed for in Golden State, four years for $123 million guaranteed. With salary cap constraints, Philly would likely have to move Tobias Harris, who is in the last year of his max contract. 

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What is Maxey’s worth over the next four or five years? His shooting percentages are better than the aforementioned Jordan Poole, with a slight scoring average difference (20.3 to 20.4). Does it mean Maxey will get similar money or more? Whatever angle is taken, the contract amount will oscillate between negotiation parties in subsequent weeks. Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype projects Maxey’s next contract to be around five years, $194 million.

If the 76ers want to anoint Maxey as the backcourt cornerstone piece, Philly has until October 23rd to make a decision. Ideally, by the time that date rolls around, the franchise will have made the proper moves to free up cap space and secure Maxey to a deal favorable for both sides. Also, by that date, the Sixers’ new coach will have figured out the fit for the dynamic combo guard.

Nursing the System

Maxey
FILE – Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse speaks to reporters at the NBA basketball team’s media day availability in Toronto, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Nick Nurse was fired Friday, April 21, 2023, as coach of the Toronto Raptors, four years after he led the franchise to its first and only NBA championship.(Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

Nick Nurse is regarded as one of the NBA’s brightest and most creative coaches. His basketball IQ and creativity are what helped lead Toronto to its first-ever NBA Championship back in 2019. It is also what led to the development and flourishing of Fred VanVleet, but what does this have to do with Tyrese Maxey?

Nurse was an offensive-minded assistant coach in Toronto who helped unlock VanVleet’s potential. Under Nurse as head coach, VanVleet became an NBA All-Star and a champion. He was used in Toronto’s system as a gritty defensive guard who had free reign to launch 3-pointers at a high clip. Although he was undersized and had to pay G-League dues, VanVleet overachieved and became an integral part of the Raptor’s success.

Like VanVleet did the past few years, Tyrese Maxey has become a dangerous 3-point threat while being undersized for his position. Could Nick Nurse figure out a way in which Maxey can take another leap this season, particularly in the defensive department? He is already a better shooter than VanVleet, so perhaps a new voice preaching a new system will launch Maxey into another stratosphere.

During a recent interview on Inside the Association, VanVleet sang high praises for Nurse. He admitted, “He’s definitely a different guy but certainly one of the top coaches in the NBA, and we saw that with us winning the championship.” VanVleet’s success is tied to Nurse’s tutelage. Tyrese Maxey would benefit from the same.

Once Nurse assesses the team’s needs based on individual player skill sets, he can begin to connect the dots. The biggest dot, Joel Embiid, will be spotted first. Then, depending on Harden’s situation, Maxey will not be far behind. Whatever system Nurse implements next season, Maxey will play a huge part. 

Whether he is making $4.3 million starting in November or a new salary indicative of a successful negotiation, Maxey could benefit greatly from the addition of Nick Nurse.

By the end of his interview with Lauren Rosen, Maxey was asked what advice he would give his younger self. With his usual confident tone, he responded cordially to Rosen, “Continue to stay humble. Stay hungry. Keep working, and everything will be okay.”

If Maxey inks a new deal before October 23rd, his own advice would leave a signature on his future. Hopefully, that future will see him raising a championship trophy in a Sixers jersey. Then, everything would be okay, not only for the Maxey family but for the 76ers and the city.