Free agents the Sixers could target with Taxpayer MLE

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Golden State Warriors’ Donte DiVincenzo, right, tries to get a shot past Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Philadelphia 76ers have a ton of free-agent decisions they have to make this offseason, including what they need to offer to entice James Harden to return. Regardless of Harden’s decision, Daryl Morey, Elton Brand, and the rest of the Sixers’ front office have to build out the best roster around Joel Embiid to continue to be contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia 76ers’ Daryl Morey listens to a question during a news conference at the NBA basketball team’s training facility, Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

This upcoming offseason, the Sixers will have the Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception — roughly $6.5 million —available to spend in free agency, which will allow them to go after some middle-tier free agents that fit well around Joel Embiid and potentially James Harden. Here are three possible free-agent targets for the 76ers:

Sixers’ Target #1: Lonnie Walker IV

Lonnie Walker IV is the athletic type of player the Sixers could definitely benefit from signing next season. Walker spent his last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he started 32 games but was in and out of the rotation. He averaged 11.7 ppg while shooting almost 37 percent from beyond the arc. Walker is a local kid who was a star in Reading, PA, before heading to the University of Miami. After being drafted in San Antonio, he ended up in LA last year and actually helped the Lakers make it to the conference finals.

With the 76ers potentially losing Georges Niang and Jaden McDaniels, Walker IV could be a good replacement in the rotation. Walker could provide much-needed athleticism to a roster whose two best players play with the slowest pace in the league. Walker could be a top-eight rotational player on this Sixers roster.

Sixers’ Target #2: Torrey Craig

Sixers fans have mocked traded Torrey Craig to Philadelphia for the last few seasons. He fits just what the 76ers need on a team headlined by Joel Embiid. Craig is a versatile forward who can play either forward spot. He can guard four positions, is a solid rebounder, and can stretch the floor as well. Craig averaged 7.4 ppg and 5.4 rpg last season, which was a career-high in both categories.

The Sixers need as many versatile “3 and D” players on the roster as they can get. In the playoffs, they have been exposed as having players who were either good offensively or good defensively but not both. Last season, they started to build their roster around Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and James Harden with two-way players. With the roster in flux, they need to continue to add that archetype of a player to the roster, and Craig fits the mold. He has played for contending teams in the past, so he knows how to play his role and step up when it matters.

Sixers’ Target #3: Donte DiVincenzo

Donte DiVincenzo is a local kid who could really flourish in an opportunity back near his hometown. He has a player option, and if he opted out, he could make a good bit more than he is scheduled to make with the Golden State Warriors. With the expectation that Shake Milton won’t be returning to Philadelphia, the Sixers could use another guard in the rotation.

The former Villanova guard could bring in some athleticism, rebounding, and shooting to the roster. He shot 39 percent from beyond the arc last season on just over five attempts a game. Standing at 6’4, he would be able to play with smaller guards like Maxey and Melton, and if Harden would return, could play in a bigger lineup. He was a starter on the Milwaukee Bucks before he broke his foot in the year that they won the championship. He proved he can be a piece on a championship-level team and just the type of player the 76ers need.