Report: Sixers to workout former Hornets big Kai Jones

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 07: Shirts line the seats of the Wells Fargo Center for fans before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 07, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

As they continue looking for answers in Joel Embiid’s absence, the Sixers are reportedly set to meet for former Charlotte Hornets big man Kai Jones, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Jones, the former No. 19 overall selection in the 2021 NBA draft, was released by the Hornets earlier this season after a controversial offseason. Jones made headlines after several social media posts ranging from calling out teammates to claims of being better than LeBron James.

A report released ahead of training camp stated that Jones would miss Charlotte’s camp for personal reasons. Shortly after, Jones publically demanded a trade and was, in turn, released by the Hornets.

Over his two career seasons, Jones has averaged 2.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 67 games. While his box stats alone may not draw much interest, his immense athleticism and potential have always drawn teams to Jones.

The 23-year-old free agent is now on the hunt to return to the NBA, and his first team to officially meet with him is set to be the Sixers, who continue to need depth in the paint.

The Sixers desperately need reinforcements

Philadelphia 76ers’ Mo Bamba, left, pulls down a loose ball against Memphis Grizzlies’ Lamar Stevens during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

In the continued absence of Joel Embiid, the Sixers have unsurprisingly struggled in many areas. One such aspect has been the continued struggles of the team’s bigs, Paul Reed and Mo Bamba.

While Reed has performed admirably, averaging 8.8 points and 7.8 rebounds since Embiid’s final game, he has been uneven when asked to do more than he is comfortable with. Any replacement for Joel Embiid would struggle to produce at the same level, but Reed’s struggles have shown that he’s not ready to be a starting presence down low on a nightly basis.

Far more concerning than Reed has been the performance of Mo Bamba. Since the start of Embiid’s absence, Bamba has averaged just 3.3 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting 36.4 percent from the field.

More concerning than his lack of offensive production is his inability to defend at an NBA level. While he may enjoy a highlight-reel-worthy block from time to time, Bamba remains slow and anything but sure-footed without the level of basketball IQ necessary to combat such flaws.

While Jones may not be free of those very same flaws, the Sixers sure may hope that his impressive athleticism could combat that in some regard.

There is no public time yet for the workout, but sometime over the coming days, the Sixers and Jones will meet, and the team will potentially have their next hopeful answer after trying both Darius Bazely and Nico Batum as emergency options.