Sixers second-round pick J.P. Tokoto has signed a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Wojnarowski refers to it as a “$525,000 tender offer,” so it would appear that this year’s No. 58 overall selection signed his $525,093 required tender that the Sixers needed to offer him to retain his rights. Philadelphia has yet to make an official announcement. It would be the second offseason in a row that a second-round pick of the Sixers has taken the required tender route after K.J. McDaniels did the same a year ago. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer first reported last month that Tokoto would head to Sixers camp one way or another.
The Sixers have made it a habit to use their cap space to sign prospects to long-term partially guaranteed deals that tie up the rights to players for as many as four years. Still, it’s unclear if the Sixers had designs on signing Tokoto at all this year, as he’d reportedly told them before the draft that he would be open to becoming a draft-and-stash pick. However, a later report indicated that he had no intention of playing this season in the D-League or overseas, so perhaps his thinking changed. In any case, both Philadelphia and Tokoto assume risk, since the Sixers would lose his rights if they waive him at the end of camp and Tokoto would be without any NBA money in that circumstance.
Tokoto, a client of Steve McCaskill, is betting on his ability to quickly establish his footing in the NBA. McDaniels wound up with a three-year, $10MM contract from the Rockets in restricted free agency this summer, and Tokoto is surely dreaming of a similar fate should he stick on his Sixers deal all season, since he, too, would have a crack at restricted free agency after only one season. However, Tokoto doesn’t have the pedigree of McDaniels, a fringe first-round prospect who was the No. 32 pick a year ago. Tokoto, a 6’6″ shooting guard from North Carolina, was the 46th-best prospect at draft time this year, according to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, while Chad Ford of ESPN.com had him at No. 52.
Ford called him one of the best wing defenders in the draft, and that’s in contrast to his offensive shortcomings. Tokoto averaged just 8.3 points in 29.1 minutes per game for the Tar Heels this past season, and though he shot 37.1% from behind the arc, he followed that up with an 0 for 10 performance from three-point range in summer league. He’s nonetheless a strong rebounder for his size, having come away with 5.6 boards per game for North Carolina this year.
Philadelphia has been active in recent days, agreeing to deals with Kendall Marshall and undrafted power forward Christian Wood. The Sixers reportedly have signed contracts or deals with 21 players, as I examined in this post, so either one of the deals is off, or the team will have to waive or trade somebody before the start of training camp later this month.
Do you think Tokoto is wise to bet on himself like this? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.