Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Philadelphia 76ers.
- Standard contracts:
- Two-way contracts:
- Non-guaranteed camp contracts:
- Acquired the draft rights to Zhaire Smith (No. 16 pick) and the Heat’s 2021 first-round pick (unprotected) from the Suns in exchange for the draft rights to Mikal Bridges (No. 10 pick).
- Acquired the Pistons’ 2021 second-round pick and the Pistons’ 2023 second-round pick from the Pistons in exchange for the draft rights to Khyri Thomas (No. 38 pick).
- Acquired the draft rights to Shake Milton (No. 54 pick) from the Mavericks in exchange for the draft rights to Ray Spalding (No. 56 pick) and Kostas Antetokounmpo (No. 60 pick).
- Acquired the Bulls’ 2019 second-round pick and cash ($1.5MM) from the Lakers in exchange for the draft rights to Isaac Bonga (No. 39 pick).
- Acquired Wilson Chandler, the Nuggets’ 2021 second-round pick, and the right to swap 2022 second-round picks from the Nuggets in exchange for cash ($110K).
- Acquired cash ($1MM) from the Suns in exchange for Richaun Holmes.
- Acquired Mike Muscala in a three-way trade with the Hawks and Thunder in exchange for Justin Anderson (to Hawks) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (to Thunder).
- 1-16: Zhaire Smith — Signed to rookie contract.
- 1-26: Landry Shamet — Signed to rookie contract.
- 2-54: Shake Milton — Signed to two-way contract.
- Jonah Bolden (2017 draft; No. 36): Signed to four-year, $7MM contract. First two years guaranteed. Signed using cap room.
Other offseason news:
- Agreed to part ways with president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo after Twitter burner account scandal.
- Promoted VP of basketball operations Elton Brand to general manager position.
- Special advisor Jerry Colangelo will leave team at season’s end.
- Contract agreement with Nemanja Bjelica fell through.
- Zhaire Smith underwent foot surgery; expected to be sidelined until Christmas.
- Hired former WNBA star Lindsey Harding as full-time scout.
Salary cap situation:
- Used cap space; now over the cap.
- Carrying approximately $101.1MM in guaranteed salaries.
- Full room exception ($4.45MM) still available.
Check out the Philadelphia 76ers’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.
Story of the summer:
The story of the Sixers’ summer might have been the NBA’s story of the decade. A late-May report from Ben Detrick of The Ringer, which detailed the use of Twitter “burner” accounts connected to president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, set NBA Twitter afire, providing one jaw-dropping revelation after another.
The allegations within that report – that Colangelo appeared to be using anonymous Twitter accounts to criticize current and former Sixers players, share inside information about the franchise, and tip team strategy – ultimately cost the veteran executive his job, though an investigation revealed that his wife was likely the one behind the accounts.
The bizarre saga put the Sixers in a tenuous position entering the offseason. The organization was armed with the most 2018 draft picks of any NBA team – including multiple first-rounders – and had enough cap flexibility to pursue any free agent on the market. But Philadelphia headed into the draft and free agency without a permanent GM in place, employing head coach Brett Brown as the interim head of basketball operations.
While the last-minute change to the front office was unexpected, it didn’t necessarily hamstring the 76ers. Philadelphia wasn’t able to land a top free agent, but the team showed no aversion to making roster moves, completing a league-high seven trades during the offseason. Still, it remains to be seen whether all that roster activity will ultimately move the needle in 2018/19 for a team on the rise in the Eastern Conference.
Key offseason losses:
With a handful of new rookies joining the roster for the 2018/19 season, it made sense for the Sixers to move on from bench players like Richaun Holmes, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and Justin Anderson in trades.
Although Holmes has provided the Sixers with some solid minutes over the last three seasons, he was entering the last year of his contract and didn’t project to have a major role with Amir Johnson returning. Luwawu-Cabarrot and Anderson played part-time roles in Philadelphia last season, but didn’t show major signs of forward progress and have been replaced on the roster by younger players who have a little more upside.
A pair of veteran sharpshooters represent the most significant losses for the Sixers. Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova, acquired on the buyout market after last season’s trade deadline, added a new element to Philadelphia’s offense, helping the team stretch the floor and giving stars like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid more room to go to work.
The 76ers won 20 of their 23 regular season games in which both Belinelli and Ilyasova were active, but were unable to retain either player in free agency, as both vets came to terms quickly with new teams — Belinelli got a two-year, $12MM deal from the Spurs, while Ilyasova received a three-year, $21MM contract from Milwaukee.
The Sixers will miss the veteran duo, particularly since a reported agreement to sign an Ilyasova-like stretch four (Nemanja Bjelica) fell through.
Key offseason additions:
The Sixers entered the summer with dreams of acquiring LeBron James or Kawhi Leonard — or maybe even both. However, James wasted no time in reaching a deal with the Lakers, and Philadelphia wasn’t willing to surrender the right pieces to acquire Leonard from the Spurs, who wanted to replace their All-NBA forward with another win-now veteran (ie. DeMar DeRozan).
Having struck out on their top targets, the Sixers opted not to tie up their cap for years by throwing big money at a second-tier free agent. Instead, they kept accumulating future draft assets and rolled their cap room over to the summer of 2019, using this year’s space to re-sign J.J. Redick to a one-year deal and to trade for Wilson Chandler, who is entering the final year of his contract.
Chandler, who had been with the Nuggets since 2010, is an interesting addition for the Sixers. He’s capable of playing both forward positions, so he could fill a stretch four role (.351 3PT% since 2012/13) in certain lineups, while serving as a three-and-D wing alongside Embiid and Dario Saric in others.
Mike Muscala, a 37.8% career three-point shooter, will also help the Sixers’ frontcourt stretch the floor, and can hold his own on defense against bigger bodies. Neither Chandler nor Muscala will be a difference-maker in Philadelphia, but they’re solid veterans who should play nice complementary roles to the team’s stars.
The Sixers’ other new additions are youngsters, with Zhaire Smith, Landry Shamet, and Jonah Bolden joining the mix. Smith, who will be out until at least December with a foot injury, might not give the club much this season, and it’s not clear whether Shamet will be ready to contribute right away either. Bolden, however, could be an under-the-radar contributor to watch — the Sixers like the 2017 second-rounder, who signed a long-term deal with the team this season after spending a year overseas as a draft-and-stash prospect.
Outlook for 2018/19:
None of the players the Sixers added to their roster during the summer of 2018 represent a sizable upgrade over last year’s group, and losing Belinelli and Ilyasova might hurt. Still, Philadelphia isn’t necessarily counting on any of its newly-acquired players to be a star. The club already has two of those in Embiid and Simmons, and as long as they continue to get better, this should be one of the perennial contenders in the East.
Of course, the Sixers are desperately hoping that 2017’s first overall pick, Markelle Fultz, will ultimately join that group of young stars, giving Philadelphia its own Big Three. If Fultz can take steps toward becoming that sort of impact player in 2018/19, it won’t matter that the Sixers didn’t make a splash in free agency or on the trade market — Fultz would represent a massive in-house upgrade after his forgettable rookie season.
Without substantial development from Fultz, this Sixers squad may not be ready to compete for a title quite yet, but that’s okay. Embiid and Simmons still only have one full season apiece under their belts, and the 76ers’ 2019 cap flexibility will give the club another shot at landing a star next summer. This figures to be a team to be reckoned with for years to come.
Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post. Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.