Where do the 76ers pivot from here?

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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)

Well, that seemed short-lived! A few days after all signs were pointing toward Paul George making his way to Philadelphia, NBA Insider Shams Charania threw water on those flames. He reported that the 76ers’ interest in George “significantly waned in recent days” and would look to bolster their roster somewhere else.

Fans and insiders continue to debate the reasons why they have seemingly moved on, with the most likely reason being that they learned he wasn’t all that interested in being in Philly. With their most major, most realistic target off the board, where do the Sixers go from here? Who do they pivot to as the draft and free agency approach?

Star Hunting via Trade

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New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) dunks over Toronto Raptors center Jontay Porter (34) as Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17) looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Toronto on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

With George off the table, the 76ers will likely try to trade for a third star to pair with Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. As Shams noted in his tweet, Philadelphia will be aggressive with their draft capital as the draft approaches and has been connected to a few stars.

There have been reports that the New Orleans Pelicans have reached out to the Sixers regarding All-Star Brandon Ingram. It looks like the Pelicans don’t want to extend Ingram and doesn’t see him as a great fit next to Zion Williamson and some of their other young wings. There would be some fit concerns in Philadelphia as well but could be the third scorer they need.

There were also some rumors regarding the Bulls and 76ers discussing a deal around Zach Lavine, but local writer and insider Kyle Neubeck of PHLY shut that down. The Bulls and Lavine have been trying to move on from one another for what seems like a few years, and with his contract, he is seen around the league as a negative asset.

The 76ers may have listened more intently if they were incentivized with draft assets or even do-it-all guard Alex Caruso. With Caruso traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Lavine looks like a backup plan for Philly right now.

Philadelphia has been connected to Jimmy Butler since both the Heat and 76ers were bounced from the first round. Butler seems to want another max extension in Miami, but Pat Riley is hesitant to give it to him due to his age and injury history.

Since some early sourcing that the 76ers would welcome a reunion with Butler and would like to pair him up with their two stars, there haven’t been many reports until recently. NBA reporter Howard Beck recently predicted that the Heat would move on from Butler this offseason.

Philadelphia could also explore other trade options as well. They could reach out to the Utah Jazz and try to swing a trade for All-Star Lauri Markkanen. Maybe the Brooklyn Nets will finally listen to offers for Mikal Bridges and kick-start the rebuild they are destined for. They could also hope that Kevin Durant doesn’t like Phoenix and requests a trade to Philadelphia.

The 76ers could kick the can

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Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, right, reacts after making a 3-poiunt basket against the Miami Heat during the second half of Game 1 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Thursday, June 1, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

If the stars don’t align within the trade market, the 76ers could approach free agency like they approached last season after trading James Harden. They could opt for financial flexibility and offer role players bloated payments with team options. This could help field some depth around Embiid and Maxey, have enough salaries to match trades in the future, and also have the possibility of cap space next summer.

A name that has been linked to the 76ers this offseason as a free agent is current Denver Nuggets guard/wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He is a two-time champion and could be just the type of 3 and D player that could thrive in Philadelphia.

With under a week to go in the draft, we are going to see where the 76ers pivot from here. They could end up with George after all, but the clock is ticking on Morey and the front office to get this offseason right.