Offseason Outlook: Philadelphia 76ers

June 23 at 10:36pm CST By Zach Links

Guaranteed Contracts

Options

Non-Guaranteed Contracts

Free Agents / Cap Holds

Draft Picks

  • 1st Round (3rd overall)
  • 1st Round (10th overall)
  • 2nd Round (32nd overall)
  • 2nd Round (39th overall)
  • 2nd Round (47th overall)
  • 2nd Round (52nd overall)
  • 2nd Round (54th overall)

Cap Outlook

  • Guaranteed Salary: $19,553,989
  • Options: $7,664,509
  • Non-Guaranteed Salary: $6,167,100
  • Cap Holds: $7,619,625
  • Total: $41,005,223

In the modern NBA, teams believe that you have to move in one of two directions: either toward the No. 1 record or toward the No. 1 pick.  We all know which way the Sixers went last season.  Now, armed with more picks than any other team in the 2014 draft, GM Sam Hinkie has to show fans that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The 76ers won’t be expected to contend this season but there has to be an improvement over their 19-63 mark.  Any discussion of the 76ers’ offseason has to start with Thursday’s draft.  The 76ers have been heavily connected to Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins since they’re in desperate need of an impact wing.  Unfortunately for them, Joel Embiid‘s injury figures to have a domino effect at the top of the draft that could leave them shut out of their guy at No. 3.  Wiggins could have been there for Hinkie with Embiid and Jabari Parker coming off the board at Nos. 1 and 2, but Embiid being taken out of the picture makes Wiggins seem like the best option for the Cavs at the top of the draft.  If Hinkie is dead set on landing Wiggins, the consensus No. 1 overall pick before the 2013/14 college season got underway, he could try getting on the phone with the Cavs and offering up the No. 3 and other picks.  However, that’s probably a long shot given the win-now directive that has been handed down for Cleveland by owner Dan Gilbert.

A truly pragmatic approach to the situation would be for the 76ers to draft Embiid.  Yes, Embiid will be out of commission for at least four to six months.  And, yes, Embiid had some pretty serious back trouble that was causing red flags before the foot injury.  And, yes, the 76ers are still waiting on Nerlens Noel to make his NBA debut.  But, if Embiid comes back strong from the injury and doesn’t miss extended time, he could very well turn out to be the best talent in the entire class.  Besides, the Sixers can get someone at No. 10 who can come in and hit the ground running while the KU big man heals up.

A third scenario for the Sixers at No. 3 would be drafting Australian guard Dante Exum.  It has been an open secret for months that the Sixers are high on the 6’7″ 19-year-old but, of course, he’s not a fit with Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams running the point.  But what if he wasn’t anymore?  Philly is said to be open to trading MCW and there’s no question that he could yield something of considerable value.  The Syracuse product averaged 16.7 points, 6.3 assists, and 6.2 rebounds in 34.5 minutes per game this past season, but his shooting deficiencies are troubling and his 15.5 PER casts him as more of a big fish in a small pond than anything.  In theory, Philly could try pairing Exum and Carter-Williams in the backcourt together, but shooting isn’t Exum’s strength either.  The Sixers wouldn’t fetch nearly as much for last year’s No. 11 overall pick if he goes out and shoots 26.4% from downtown again without someone to help cover up his lack of range.

There are plenty of possibilities at No. 3 and there are also tons of options at No. 10, depending on how the draft plays out.  If the Sixers don’t pluck Embiid at No. 3, there are a couple of very promising bigs that could fall to them at their second first-round slot.  The Celtics (No. 6) and Lakers (No. 7) are thought to covet Aaron Gordon, but it’s conceivable that he falls.  Same goes for Julius Randle, a player who not long ago was thought to be a certainty for the top five.

The 76ers currently hold an eye-popping seven picks (Nos. 3, 10, 32, 39, 47, 52, 54) and while at least one or two of those picks figure to be used on European draft-and-stash candidates, Philly is expected to trade a few of them, either to land a veteran or to perhaps acquire a third first-round pick.  If they take some of those choices and package them with Thaddeus Young, they could get the kind of impact piece they’re looking for.  A trade could be beneficial for all parties involved.  Young stopped short of demanding a trade this spring but he said that requesting a change of scenery was a possibility.  The former lottery pick is coming off of a season in which he averaged a career-high 17.9 PPG and even though the increased scoring load caused a dip in efficiency, it stands to reason that he’ll have suitors if he’s put on the block.  Of course, Young is completely expendable if Randle or Gordon falls to Hinkie’s lap at No. 10.  A scenario where the 76ers draft Exum and Randle or Gordon while turning MCW and Young into a starting-caliber shooting guard and small forward sounds like a pretty solid plan.

With more draft picks than guaranteed contracts on the roster and less than ~$30MM on the books, the possibilities for the 76ers are endless.  Much of what they do this offseason will hinge on what happens with the first and second overall picks and the timetable that Hinkie wants to pursue.

Cap footnotes

* — The Sixers waived Maynor in March in spite of a player option on his contract for 2014/15. Since he didn’t have a chance to decide on that option, Philadelphia owes Maynor his salary for next season, just as if Maynor had opted in.
** — Richardson has reportedly opted in, but if there’s somehow a last-minute change and he opts out, his cap hold would be $9,306,375.
*** — The cap hold for Mullens would be $915,243 if he were to opt out.
**** — Anderson’s salary becomes fully guaranteed if he’s not waived on or before June 30th.
***** — The cap hold for Thomas would be $816,482 if the Sixers declined to tender his qualifying offer. ShamSports and Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ were used in the creation of this post.

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