LeBron James is a Laker.
Paul George is a Thunder, or whatever you call someone who plays for Oklahoma City.
Kawhi Leonard is… still a Spur for now.
So that’s two misses for the Sixers and one N/A, assuming they even took a swing at PG13 in the first place.
I finally saw Avengers: Infinity War over the weekend, me and the five other schlubs in the Delaware Valley that still hadn’t seen it. Without spoiling it for any other schlubs out there, I’ll just say that the ending was sort of a stunner, but it left you with some hope for the future.
I guess the Sixers are the Avengers here and LeBron is Thanos, because he’s decimated the NBA, taking the imbalanced conferences and making them even more weighted than before, if that’s even possible. You’re now looking at a west that includes LeBron, the Warriors, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Chris Paul, Anthony Davis, and wherever Kawhi ends up.
The east has the Celtics, the Sixers, and I guess the Raptors, who might actually get by the Cavs this year. This half of the NBA looks like it will be, at most, mildly interesting as we track some young draft picks this season. But the winner is still gonna be smoked in the finals, so it’s important that we realize that and understand that right now, on July 2nd, 2018. I don’t see any Eastern Conference team winning more than one game in the finals.
What now for the Sixers? Do you make a run at Kawhi on a one year rental, knowing that he wants to play in his hometown of Los Angeles? Of course you could take a crack at that and hope the buzzing Philly atmosphere convinces him to sign a long term deal, but there’s no way I’m doing that. It’s waaaaaaay too risky to give up future picks and/or a player or two just to be living on a prayer, as Bon Jovi once said.
So I think you kick the can down the road a little bit and focus on these things instead:
Re-sign JJ Redick
Not one year at $22 million, but 2-3 years at a lesser number? He’s obviously a great fit for this team, a knockdown shooter and the club’s 2nd highest scorer during the regular and post season.
Redick turned 34 last week, so a three-year deal would carry him to age 37. I don’t know if his motivation is to make as much money as possible before his time runs out, or if he really did enjoy playing here so much that he’d take some sort of discount in order to get another crack at the finals. Either way, if you did want to do another one-year overpay for him or someone else, you do have the cap room to do it and hit the reset button next season, just like the Sixers did with his contract this year.
Let Drew Hanlen do his thing
Hanlen might be the most important piece to this Sixers offseason. If the renowned shooting coach can get Markelle Fultz to look like the player we saw at Washington, you’ve now got that direly-needed shot creator and third piece to the core, a guy who could assume Redick’s role as the starting two-guard and grow together with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
For real: Fultz can change everything if he gets his head on straight, dumps whoever is giving him bad advice and sticks with the program. I’d shove him into a dorm room with a Playstation 4 and tell him that the only things he’s allowed to do this summer are rediscover his shot and play video games and/or watch Netflix. That won’t keep the pointless media clips from coming out, but whatever, it is what it is:
Listen, @DrewHanlen is a businessman. Markelle Fultz’s shooting form is a golden ticket product for him to sell.
If Hanlen didn’t think Fultz was making strides, he wouldn’t be marketing him like this. pic.twitter.com/Z0FO6C4HKS
— Dennis Chambers (@DennisChambers_) June 22, 2018
Build a bench/add a two-way wing
Trevor Ariza, Will Barton, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are off the board.
I think you take a look at an Avery Bradley, Rodney Hood (RFA), or Tyreke Evans as somebody who can play a bit of defense and replace the scoring you got from Marco Belinelli off the bench. I’m lukewarm on Wayne Ellington since he’s a one-dimensional non-defender, and you saw how much of a liability Belinelli was in the postseason.
Still, you look at the bench and see the same issues you saw at the beginning of last season. It’s a bunch of catch and shoot guys who can’t create their own offense. Justin Anderson, TLC, Furkan Korkmaz, Jerryd Bayless (though it’s easier to buy him out now or stretch him). We’re back to square one here.
RE: Bradley, I don’t think you have to go overboard. Here’s a player who made $8.8 million last year at age 27 and is coming off an abductor surgery. He’s a 14/2/2 type of guy with ferocious on-ball defense, something you know Brett Brown values. Plus, maybe he wants a crack at the Celtics after they traded him last year to work out the Gordon Hayward contract.
Bradley’s career numbers:
Evans will come cheaper but doesn’t give you the defense Bradley does. He’s a Chester native, 28 years old and coming off a really nice year for a terrible Memphis team:
Richaun Holmes? Jonah Bolden? Not sure Richaun has the defensive chops to play the five, though I like him at power forward alongside Embiid. Bolden is a total unknown at this point.
There was a report out there that the Sixers had some interest in Kyle O’Quinn, which would make sense I think. I don’t want anything to do with Nerlens Noel and I don’t think Brett Brown does either, based on some things I’ve heard about their past relationship.
Nurturing the draft picks
Not being able to package the 2021 1st rounder this offseason makes the Mikal Bridges trade look a bit corny right now. He’s a guy who would have been able to come in and contribute right away, but Zhaire Smith does have a ton of upside and we’ll get to see him soon in Summer League. Same with Landry Shamet, and who knows what Shake Milton looks like when he comes back from injury.
Think about next year
Kemba Walker is an unrestricted free agent. Klay Thompson might change his tune about the Warriors. Maybe some sort of conflict arises, or he becomes bored and looks for a new challenge.
Here’s the thing, the east is garbage this year. So I don’t think another 50 win season and playoff run is out of the question. You’ll probably get another crack at the Celtics, so there’s a lot to be excited for, even if the “star hunting” resulted in zero stars coming to Philly. Maybe you use your cap space to take a crack at a restricted free agent like Jabari Parker and see if the Bucks match. Worst case scenario, you keep developing Embiid and Simmons, hope Fultz becomes the player everyone expected, and remain flexible heading into 2019-2020. Keep that “optionality” intact, yeah?
But until then, let’s be happy for Lakers fans. They deserve LeBron. They’ve really suffered for a long time.
Here they are updating their social media profile pictures:
Edit: they also need to hire a GM