Paul Reed returns as Sixers match offer sheet from Jazz

Philadelphia 76ers forward Paul Reed (44) shoots over Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during the first half of Game 1 in the NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series, Monday, May 1, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

In a somewhat surprising move, Paul Reed is set to return to the Philadelphia 76ers after the team matched the three-year offer sheet worth around $23 million he signed Saturday morning with the Utah Jazz. Daryl Morey got a bit excited about the move as he announced it even before ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The reason this is a surprise is not about Reed as a player. After all, the fourth-year big man has steadily become more and more of a clear asset for the Sixers. No, the reason it is a surprise is that the Utah Jazz, specifically president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, did all they could to make the choice difficult for the Sixers. Not only did Ainge offer Reed a lucrative, though not undeserved, deal, but it’s also the details of the contract that were particularly plotting.

The contract, which Philadelphia has decided to match, not only guarantees Paul Reed a sizable raise for next season, but it also comes with several interesting wrinkles. The most notable being that if the Sixers reach the second round of the NBA playoffs next season, which they’re known to do in recent years, the final two years of the contract become fully guaranteed. In addition, since the Sixers have matched the sheet, Paul Reed also has veto power in a potential trade for the upcoming year, according to NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

As Wojnarowski points out, the Sixers are now officially over the luxury tax threshold and are now in danger of reaching the first apron as they are roughly $6 million over the tax threshold with two open roster spots remaining. The first apron is roughly $7 million above the tax line.

While there are several options for the Sixers to avoid the apron, the potential trades of James Harden, Tobias Harris, and Furkan Korkmaz, for instance, a resolution will not likely be simple or easy. If the Sixers do cross the first apron, they will not be able to sign buyout players; use any trade exceptions acquired over the previous year until they are under the apron again— they have a trade exception worth $2,448,846 from the Matisse Thybulle trade — and they will only be able to match salaries in a trade up to 110 percent.

For now, the good news is that Bball Paul is back for at least the foreseeable future. During the 2022-2023 NBA season, Paul Reed averaged 4.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in just 10.7 minutes of work per night. He began the season playing second fiddle to Montrezl Harrell, who the team also surprisingly resigned recently, before dethroning him as the primary backup to Joel Embiid.

In addition to the language of his offer sheet with the Jazz and the return of Montrezl Harrell, the signing of Mo Bamba marks a third reason why there is some surprise to the Sixers retaining Paul Reed. Whether the team plans to go into the season with four centers remains to be seen. Perhaps we will finally get a glimpse of Paul Reed playing legitimate NBA minutes at the four? Next to Joel Embiid perhaps?

Either way, the takeaway from today is that Paul Reed will remain in Philadelphia as the most likely backup to Joel Embiid. That type of consistency is also a plus in and of itself. The Sixers went many years without placing any serious level of importance on the backup center position. It seems, at long last, those days are over.