The Winning Fans

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King Ping's NBA Basketball Slam Dunks (Tues, THurs, FRI)

KING PING'S NBA OFFSEASON OUTLOOK

Apologies for the delay on the free agency previews! There has been some trouble for me making time to do it! However, it is finally here! Due to the lack of time until free agency begins, I will only be previewing a select group of teams with the most to do in free agency. There will be one on each page due to the length of the page. But let's get it under way!


Philadelphia 76ers


On Roster: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Zhaire Smith, Jonah Bolden, Matisse Thybulle, Marial Shayok (Non-guaranteed)


Free Agents: Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, JJ Redick, Mike Scott, James Ennis, TJ McConnell, Shake Milton, Boban Marjanovic


The Sixers are in an extremely interesting position heading into Sunday. After going all-in in a wide open Eastern Conference this past year, the Sixers are hoping to keep this dynamic foursome together. Though at times the group struggled on the floor, the starting unit (Simmons, Redick, Butler, Harris, Embiid) posted a net rating of +24.7 in the postseason leading all units playing at least 100 minutes together. But, the cost of running it back will push them into luxury tax hell as Ben Simmons is next up in the list of big contract extensions. So, I will outline the multiple paths the team has:


1. RUN IT BACK


This has to be the plan for Philadelphia heading into Sunday. Elton Brand has said that he needs every dollar he can get his hands on and acquired Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris with the intent of re-signing them to long-term deals. Butler certainly has earned his money and should be expecting an offer of 5/$190 at approximately 6:01 PM on Sunday. Harris was a very undervalued player for the Sixers, even by me. His spot-up shooting and size gave the Sixers some much-needed floor spacing after trading for him in mid-February, and he led the team in postseason minutes also getting plenty of run as the second unit's primary ball handler. Though I don't believe he is worthy of the same contract as Butler, he would likely get that money on the open market so it may not be smart to roll the dice on low-balling him. JJ Redick will also likely be a hot commodity on the free agent market. His shooting in general makes him a very valuable asset, even if he were to come off the bench at points this season for younger guards such as Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle. And lets not forget about the hive: The Mike Scott Hive. Though the trade with the Clippers in February was made centered around Tobias Harris, Scott provided a humongous boost to the bench. His ability to stretch the floor was crucial for the Sixers, and his grit and swagger on the court embodied what Philly fans want from their players. This would likely leave the team in the tax for this upcoming season, which would give them a $4.76 million dollar mid-level exception which could be used on a wing such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Elfrid Payton. The fans have been wanting to run it back since the season ended, and they should see it happen come October. 


2. Jimmy Stays, Tobi Walks


This situation would not be the worst for the Sixers. Keeping Butler has to be the top priority for Philly, and hopefully the rest falls into place. If Harris walks, the team should be left with a fair amount of cap space. This could be used both to fill his position and fill out the bench. This could be used on a BEVY (hint hint) of players. There has already been interest shown in pursuing Malcolm Brogdon and Terrence Ross, and there could be some shown in multiple other players before Sunday. I think the interest in Brogdon is more to force Milwaukee to make a tough decision on the young guard, though I do still like his fit on the Sixers, spacing the floor and not needing the ball in his hands. Guards such as Pat Beverley and Danny Green could also be brought in to play on cheaper 1-2 year deals. The team could even make a play at a marquee player such as Klay Thompson or Kawhi Leonard, though I see both options as extremely unlikely. Another interesting idea would be Al Horford. Though he is older, he may still fit well with the starting unit. A 6'10 big who can extend the defense, play off-ball, and  lockdown on defense with Joel Embiid in the front court could be in the fold. However, I think the team could go for cheaper options at forward/center such as Bojan Bogdanovic, Marcus Morris, or Kyle O'Quinn.


3. Tobi Stays, Jimmy Walks


I think there is certainly a possibility this happens. But, I don't necessarily see Jimmy flat-out walking. If this were to happen I would guess it would be in a sign-and-trade with the Houston Rockets. The only issue is that this would likely require a third team. Here's a potential idea:


HOU Acquires: Jimmy Butler


PHI Acquires: Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker, Memphis 2020 First (top-6 protected, if top-6, 2021 Memphis unprotected 1st)


BOS Acquires: Clint Capela


I don't exactly know how this works out with the cap flexibility, and it would likely mean that Boston wasn't able to land their top target, Kemba Walker. This could be interesting for the Sixers if it were to happen. Gordon and Tucker are both on expiring contracts, which would give the team flexibility going into next offseason and potentially a mid-lottery first in next year's draft. This is still extremely tough for me to wrap my head around, but the Rockets continue to go crazy with Daryl Morey continuing to flip players and maneuver the buyout market wisely, so something crazy could be in store, but I consider this idea as a whole quite unlikely. 


4. Jimmy and Tobi Both Walk


This is extremely unlikely, but if Philly messes around with both players in negotiations there is a chance this happens. This leaves the Sixers with about $60 million in cap space. They will still have Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid as the cornerstones in October, so the team will not be in complete disarray. They could bring in several wings such as Brogdon or Ross, and even bring back JJ Redick or James Ennis. Front court players such as Marcus Morris and Thad Young become even more valuable to the team to generate floor spacing. 


FINAL PREDICTION: 

PG Ben Simmons

SG Danny Green

SF Jimmy Butler

PF Marcus Morris 

C Joel Embiid

BE JJ Redick

BE Zhaire Smith

BE Matisse Thybulle

BE Shake Milton

BE Mike Scott

BE Kyle O'Quinn

BE Jonah Bolden

BE Boban Marjanovic

BE Marial Shayok (Two-Way)

BE Christ Koumadje (Two-Way)