Report: Sixers waive Paul Reed ahead of Caleb Martin signing

Miami Heat’s Caleb Martin (16) goes up for a shot against Philadelphia 76ers’ Paul Reed (44) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 18, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Sixers waived fan favorite Paul Reed on Saturday morning following the team’s signing of Caleb Martin. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the news.

A 2020 second-round pick by the Sixers, Reed – affectionately known as “BBall Paul” – spent the first part of his career absolutely lighting up the G-League with the Delaware Blue Coats. After winning both G-League Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same year, Reed was converted from a two-way to a standard contract in March 2021, where he increasingly started grabbing more playing time as a backup to Joel Embiid.

For the first half of the 2021-22 season, Reed split that backup role with legendary rebounder Andre Drummond before the latter was sent to the Brooklyn Nets in the James Harden deal. As Reed became increasingly important in the Sixers’ rotation, he largely credited Drummond with his development as a rebounder and finisher at the rim. Ironically, it is now Drummond who will replace Reed as a backup as the Sixers brought the veteran big man back on a cheaper deal than Reed’s contract. 

Despite Reed’s role as a perpetual backup, the 25-year-old undoubtedly has been an incredible contributor to the Sixers during his tenure. He was essential to the team remaining in playoff contention during Embiid’s extended absence this past season, averaging 10.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in the 24 games he started.

In an Embiid-less lineup that often lacked direction and physical dominance, Reed provided a much-needed surge of energy, fearlessly matching up with some of the league’s best players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokić.

Perhaps the crown jewel of Reed’s career in Philadelphia came in Game 1 of the 2023 Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Boston Celtics. With Embiid still out and the game in Boston, the Sixers were heavy underdogs. But in a close game down the stretch, Reed sank four clutch free throws to tip the game. His 11 points and four rebounds led to a much-needed Sixers win and cemented Reed in the hearts of Sixers fans everywhere.

It makes perfect sense that Reed’s tenure in Philadelphia would come to an end now. Rebounding is one of the Sixers’ top needs, and though Reed has improved leaps and bounds in his four years, Drummond remains one of the all-time rebounding greats of the NBA.

With him returning on a cheaper deal than Reed was set to earn and the Sixers looking to make the most of their remaining cap space, the move was largely anticipated. But it’s still bittersweet, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Sixers fan with a bad word to say about BBall Paul.