Free agent Harrison Barnes might be the Sixers’ solution at small forward, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia is hoping to upgrade its perimeter defense, and the only wings currently on the roster are Nik Stauskas, Robert Covington and Hollis Thompson, who are all more valuable as shooters than defenders. The 6’8″ Barnes would bring a mix of offense and defense that coach Brett Brown is looking for, and at 24 he is just entering the prime of his career. Barnes will be a restricted free agent, so Pompey says a max offer may be necessary to discourage the Warriors from matching. The Sixers will have plenty of money available, with a little more than $33.3MM in guaranteed salary against a cap projected at about $94MM.
There’s more news out of Philadelphia:
- Ben Simmons has all the tools to be a great NBA player except outside shooting, Pompey writes in a separate piece. Pompey, who advocates Simmons as the No. 1 pick, says the Sixers are excited about the prospect of having an elite passer at power forward because it creates more options in the pick-and-roll. Cavaliers star LeBron James has become a mentor to Simmons, and he sees great things ahead for the LSU freshman. “I think we all don’t know just yet how great of a kid he is and how down to earth he is with the game of basketball and life in general,” James said.
- This week presents the first opportunity for new team president Bryan Colangelo to put his stamp on the franchise, Pompey writes in another story. With the draft on Thursday and free agency a week and a half away, Colangelo will have opportunities to make the type of bold moves he became famous for with the Raptors and Suns.
- Six players are scheduled to attend a workout Monday in Philadelphia, tweets Derek Bodner of PhillyMag.com. The Sixers will welcome Villanova point guard Ryan Arcidiacono, Kansas power forward Perry Ellis, Old Dominion point guard Trey Freeman, former Buffalo power forward Justin Moss, New Mexico State power forward Pascal Siakam and Stony Brook power forward Jameel Warney.