I know it's early to look at free agency, before knowing whether any other moves are in store or what position we'll address in the draft. We don't know if Miller is coming back, if we are drafting a PG, SG, C or PF at 17 or with a different pick, whether we'll get a second rounder or possibly, even another first round pick. We don't know if anyone else is on the move.
That being said, here is a list of players I think the Sixers should be looking at in free agency. The list is compiled with the caveat that we have no more than the MLE and LLE to spend, and that we likely won't spend the full MLE on any one player unless we can keep the contract to 1 or 2 years in order to allow us max flexibility when contracts of Dalembert and Green come off the books and when we have to re-sign Thad.
PG - Mike Bibby - I'll be surprised if Atlanta doesn't re-sign him, but if they don't and Miller leaves, he could be a good fit here. Not a lot of teams are likely to offer him anything beyond the MLE and he's a Philly kid, so that's a maybe. Because he's a porous defender and has a lot of miles on his wheels, I would be hesitant to bring him in rather than trying to see what Williams and possibly our first round pick could do.
Zaza Pachulia - he could be a nice fit as a physical big man off the bench who can play the 5 and some 4. If we moved Dalembert, he could be a part of a center rotation. Because he is a young center who is relatively productive, someone is likely to overpay him, but I'd keep an eye on him.
Sean May might not be tendered by the Bobcats. He's a kid who never put it together and is coming off an injury, but if he's in relatively decent shape, he's worth a flier. He won't cost more than the minimum and he'll play on a one year deal - probably non-guaranteed. He hasn't played more than 35 games in any one season and missed an entire season already so he's more of a deep reserve type - take a flier based on talent and not lose much of anything if he doesn't work out or gets hurt. Obviously, his healthy would be the first thing Sixers would have to ascertain before even making him a non-guaranteed offer.
Joe Smith - I doubt he comes here. We aren't quite a contender, we can't offer him a huge role, and he'd be getting the LLE or the veteran's minimum. He is however a good locker room veteran who still has some gas in the tank. I'm guessing Cleveland keeps him or he goes to a team like Houston, Lakers, San Antonio, etc., but if he's out there, I'd give him a call.
Gerald Green - he would be fairly redundant here in that he's an athletic kid who never put it together, plays no defense, and has an inconsistent shot. He is however only 23 and was the best high school player in America only a few years back. If no one gives him an offer, I'd invite him to the Summer League and think about giving him a one year, non-guaranteed contract to see if he can finally put it together. A long shot, but because of his age and natural talent, someone we should keep an eye on just in case.
James Singleton - this is a kid I would try very hard to sign to a one year offer for about $1 million or so. Give him just slightly above the minimum and an option year for next season and that should do it. This an ideal guy to replace Evans. He is a role player who is still only 27. He's got some experience and is a hustle player who bangs willingly, tries hard, goes after rebounds and is a spastic, if unspectacular defender. He would essentially give us everything Reggie gave, but for $1 million instead of $10.
Dahntay Jones - one year for the minimum and he'd be a nice fit. He plays defense and is a very good perimeter defender at SG and SF - something we don't have on the bench right now.
CJ Watson - if Golden State doesn't match, he could be a nice addition. He likely will cost in the vicinity of $3.5 to $4.5 million, but the kid can flat out shoot and he might be a nice PG for us if he can defend a bit. He won't make any great passes and he's not a pass first point, but he doesn't turn the ball over much either and could play well in the same back court with Iguodala. Obviously, he only becomes a target if we A - don't take a point in the first round and don't bring back Miller and B - think there is a high probability Golden State doesn't match the offer.
Von Wafer - even with adding Kapono, we're short on shooters. Wafer is only 23 and is a kid who can stick the 3 and put the ball on the floor some. Depending on the cost, he could be a decent targer. At his age, he still has a ceiling he hasn't reached and could be a better option than Willie Green for 18 to 22 minutes off the bench.
Rasho Nesterovic - if Sixers trade Dalembert and don't get a C in return, he could be someone I'd give $4 million on a one year deal to. He would be a nice fit in Jordan's system.
Quinton Ross - another like akin to Jones - one year deal for the minimum to be a deep reserve who can come in and play some perimeter defense off the bench when the need arises.
Rodney Carney - I know we already had him, but he's in the same mold as Ross and Jones. One year, minimum. Not old, athletic, can hit a few 3's. Can play SG and SF.
Jason Collins - a guy I would take a look at to replace Theo's role. He's a great veteran presence in the locker room and a professional. On offense, he's a zero. On defense, he's a very solid low post defender. Won't block shots, but knows how to use his body to deny the ball and keep people from dominating the paint. A role player who might only appear in 35 to 45 games at about 5 to 8 minutes a game, but every team still needs those and right now, we don't have a guy like him on the roster.
Shelden Williams - he very well could be out of the league, but I'd take a look. He's 25 and he knows how to play. Probably not as active or agile as Evans, but still a kid who would give an effort and get some boards. He'd be a deep reserve, but a hustle guy who works hard.
Malik Rose - he would be the 14th or 15th guy, but coaches love him and teammates respect him. He plays defense and he hustles. A consumate professional and a local guy. Great veteran presence at the minimum.
Robert Swift - people probably wonder why anyone would even consider him, even for the minimum? Primarily because bigs take a while to develop and he's still only 23 and is 7-1, 275. Will he ever be anything more than a back up center, given best circumstances? Unlikely. But right now, we don't have a true back up C. Speights and Smith are more hybrids. Swift is a true 5. If he doesn't get any offers, I'd give him a summer league invite at the minimum and consider a one year offer for the minimum to see if we get lucky.
Anthony Johnson - he has a player option he very well might exercise and he'd only be a good fit if we let Miller go and drafted a first round point. He'd be a nice veteran mentor to Williams and the rookie and can still play passable defense and stick an open 3.
Ime Udoka - same as Jones and Carney. He's older and is not a very good shooter, but he's played for a winning organization and won't cost much. Can defend 2 positions fairly well.
Kyrylo Fesenko - Utah is still considering whether to tender him. If they don't, I hope we look at him hard. We drafted and traded the kid and he's never gotten a chance in Utah, but he seems like a tough kid who will give you 6 hard fouls, get some rebounds, some put backs and block a shot here and there. Young and moves relatively well for how big he is.
Morriss Almond - I don't think he can play in the league. That being said, based on his age and college career, I would bring him into the Summer League and see what he can do.
Jarron Collins - basically similar to his twin bother - not as good a post defender, but a quintessential third string center. Veteran good guy who takes up space well.
There are others out there, but I don't believe we can afford them, they fit here, or would want to play in Philly. Let me know what you guys think of these guys and anyone else you think we might be able to take a look at on the cheap.
Also, if anyone knows of an European free agents who are looking to come to the NBA and might be affordable and would play on a one or two year deal, toss them into the mix. Toronto has gotten lucky a few times with that route. By the way, I didn't put a guy like Anthony Parker in there because I think he might get a too good to refuse offer from a team in Europe and that he would likely be too expensive for our blood, but if not, he'd be another guy I would seriously look at in spite of his age and declining productivity. He's a solid defender and 3 point shooter and if the price and years are right, he would be an excellent fit.
Didn't realize that Bibby moved to Arizona at such a young age. For some reason I thought he moved there as a teen. I know he went to high school out there, but I didn't realize he was two. I know some family is still here, but yeah, his dad left when Cheeks was fired and is now in Memphis so perhaps he'd have less of an interest in Philly based on being born here than I thought. As is, he's both a long shot because I think he stays in Atlanta, and because of his age and lack of defensive ability. But on offensive fit, he would be perfect here and he and Brand could run the pick and roll really well. I think he would enjoy playing with a low post scorer again as he did with Webber and he likes running off the ball to hoist up jumpers and Iggy handles the ball quite a bit and is a good passer. But you're absolutely right. The likelihood of his coming here based on being a hometown kid alone just went from 5% to .05% based on what you said.
I wouldn't mind Quinton Ross at all. He's a minimum guy with great defensive ability. I just don't know anything else that he does. But for depth purposes, and to get some defensive personnel to help an offensive minded coach, he wouldn't be all that bad.
Fact is, depending on how things play out, we'll be looking at a couple of deep reserves. So while a guy like Malik Rose isn't anything to get excited about, guys like Theo and Marshall played an important role in the locker room last season - teaching the kids about professionalism, defense, the NBA, being the mouthpiece of the coaches, and occassionally providing a few valuable minutes. Every team needs those guys. I'm using Rose as an example - not to say I want him over someone else, but right now this is what we have:
PG - Lou Williams and Royal Ivey. Ivey can in theory still opt out, although I'm guessing he takes the player option. He could be traded with ease or waived, without much of a cap consequence. Williams at this point is more of a combo guard. We might re-sign Miller. If not, we could draft a PG. If we draft one, we will also likely be looking at a veteran to add. If we don't draft one and don't re-sign Williams, we'll be looking for a guy in either free agency or the trade market. No matter what happens, we'll be looking to add a player. Two roster spots.
SG - Andre Iguodala and Willie Green. Iggy is a swingman who probably will play a lot more SG this season with a healthy Brand. Green will go back to being a back up. In all likelihood, we'll be looking to add a pure SG or a swingman who can also play the 3. Ideally someone who can play defense and hit the 3. Two roster spots.
SF - Thad Young and Jason Kapono. Young can play some 4 in a small line-up and Kapono can play some SG since he's equally incompetent defensively at both the 2 and the 3. Young isn't horrible defensively at the 3, but he needs a lot of work. Kapono is horrible. Iggy can also fill in here. We might want to add one more player - probably someone who is a good defensive player. Two roster spots.
PF - Elton Brand is coming back. Marresse Speights should continue to improve. Speights can also play some 5 and Brand sometimes plays the 5 in a small line-up. However, there are serious health concerns with Brand and after the Evans trade, we could use some more depth and veteran presence. We are almost guaranteed to add another PF. Two roster spots.
C - Samuel Dalembert is still here. Jason Smith, who can play the 4 or the 5, is coming back after an ACL tare. We should be thinking about adding another player here as well because one guy might no longer fit the system and another is coming off an injury. Two roster spots.
We have one draft pick - 17th overall. One roster spot.
Presume right now that we have 11 roster spots filled. While 13 is the minimum, most teams, including the Sixers, carry 14. Many carry 15, the max. This is a season where it might make some sense for the Sixers to carry 15 players because they'll have some young kids in prominent roles and because they have two guys with serious injury questions. It might not make sense to have 15 guaranteed contracts right off the bat, to have 14 and have the 15th guy on a contract that doesn't become guaranteed until December, as NBA rules permit. Someone who can be either kept if he fits, or waived and either replaced later or re-signed to a couple of 10 day contracts. Depends on the level of flexibility they think they need.
Either way, it's safe to say that we need to fill at least 3, and possibly 4 roster spots in free agency. I'm guessing that of those, only one guy will make more than the minimum. There will be at least two players we will bring in for the minimum, not unlike Marshall and Theo last year. Most will not be sexy names - hence they are guys who are playing for the minimum. So it will be up to the Sixers to make those roster spots count. I'd venture to say that in spite of Marshall and Theo being marginal role players last season, between the two of them, they were responsible for at least 3 wins, if not 4 or 5. Even if all goes well next season, 4-5 wins could be the difference between being a 3rd or 4th seat and being a 7th or 8th. It could be the difference between playing in the second round or getting bounced in the first. So those roster spots are still important and they will be filled by either young guys who have yet to show a lot or veterans who are on the downside.
I didn't list Birdman because I don't think we can afford him or that he would want to come here. I'd be shocked if Denver let him walk. There is also a pretty high risk factor with him. I'd certainly take a look at the guy, but I'm guessing Denver re-signs him and that he wants to re-sign there. 3 years and $15?
Not too worried about the risk factor, but I agree Denver's not letting him go and if they do it's because someone offered him a lot of money. I could see Denver going as high as the full MLE, depending on if Kroenke wants to pay the tax, which he might as the team was pretty close and Birdman played a big part. So that would mean Sixers would have to throw a lot on the table, doesn't make sense.
Sixers can't offer more than the full MLE and I don't think they would offer the full MLE anyway. We have too much money invested in Brand and Dalembert and have two youngsters we are high on in Smith and Speights. We have a shortage of cap space and will need to re-sign Young before you know it. Stefanski isn't going to get the green light to pay luxury tax any time soon unless we're talking about a player who will make Sixers a legit contender. I can't imagine the Sixers going the full MLE at 3, 4 or 5 for Birdman and I can't see him agreeing to a one or two year deal.
I wonder who else will be interested in him. I think he and Big Baby Davis will draw some looks from teams. Gordon, Odom, Ariza, Turkogulu, Bibby, Felton, Sessions, Varejao, Marvin Williams, Miller, Kidd, Iverson, Wallace, McDyess, Crawford if he opts out, Artest, David Lee, Nate Robinson, Wilcox, Gortat, Grant Hill, Marion, Parker, Millsap, Boozer if he opts out, and Okur are the cream of this year's free agent crop. Some guys are restricted, so won't be easy to pry without a sing and trade, but overall, not a stellar bunch.
Gordon rejected a lot of money last season and I doubt anyone but the Bulls will pay the kid more than $12 million over 5 years.
Kobe loves Ariza, so I doubt the Lakers let him leave.
Odom is probably more likely to leave and he should get a lot of interest. I think he'll get more than the MLE, although maybe the best he can hope for is a full MLE for 5 years.
I think Turkogulu stays in Orlando, Bibby stays in Atlanta, Felton isn't likely going to another team without a sign and trade being worked out. Sessions could be had because Milwaukee is short on coin. A full MLE for 5 years would likely do it. Varejao likely stays in Cleveland unless Memphis makes him a stupid offer.
I have no idea where Miller, Kidd and Iverson will end up. They'll both be picky and have a limited number of teams looking at them.
I think it would be foolish for Crawford and Boozer to opt out and I think Utah keeps both Millsap and Okur, although Memo could end up in Detroit again.
Wouldn't be surprised if Rasheed Wallace ended up with the Spurs, Cleveland or Lakers (especially if Odom leaves). McDyess might go back to Detroit or sing with a team like the Celtics.
Guessing Artest stays in Houston, Marvin Williams takes a one year deal in Atlanta to become unrestricted next season.
New York will look to move both Lee and Robinson. They won't let Lee leave for nothing in all likelihood, although they might let Robinson go if someone made him a nice offer.
Wilcox could go anywhere - he lost a lot of value and might want a team that would give him a lot of playing time and a one year deal.
Parker could go back to Europe on a nice contract.
Hill likely stays with Phoenix or looks at San Antonio or the Celtics. Maybe he goes back to Orlando if they lose Turkogulu.
Gortat likely gets an offer Orlando won't match. I think anything over $3 million a year, they let him go. They need to re-sign Turkogulu and Gortat is not worth paying the luxury tax for.
Marion is a tough read. He hasn't been very productive since leaving Phoenix and seems to want a lot of money. If Toronto lets him walk, I can't imagine someone gives him over the full MLE and I'd be shocked if anyone gave him the full MLE at the full 5 years, although someone might. If he accepts the MLE, he could do a lot worse than the Spurs. Lakers would gladly take him to replace Odom if Odom leaves, or Ariza for that matter. Maybe Portland and Detroit take a look. Maybe Houston if they don't re-sign Artest. Celtics?