Thoughts on the Furkan Korkmaz Deal and Dwight Howard Going Back to the Lakers

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency began at  6 p.m. on Monday evening, and it was highlighted by Philly native Kyle Lowry not coming home. He took his talents to South Beach, and teamed up with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo on a three-year, $90 million Miami Heat deal. It’s a sign-and-trade that’s expected to see Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa go to Toronto, according to PRELIMINARY reports.

That’s killer money for a 35 year old who was linked to the Sixers midway through this past season.

Philadelphia, meantime, went out and signed Furkan Korkmaz to a three-year deal worth $15 million, and my thoughts on that are:

  1. It’s kind of crazy how Furk ended up in this spot. He was drafted in 2016, spent that first season on loan to Banvit from Anadolu Efes, and then came over the following year. He suffered a Lisfranc injury playing for the 87ers, his third-year option was declined, then he asked for a trade. But he finished the season, was linked to Fenerbahce as a free agent, and then wound up re-signing with the Sixers. Go figure.
  2. This is a good contract. Three years, $15 million dollars for a regular season bench guy who hopefully can take the next postseason step forward. It’s a movable contract and is the same AAV amount they were paying Mike Scott to do nothing last season.
  3. Furk’s shooting numbers were slightly down this year, but if he can hit somewhere between the 37.5% and 40.2% from three that he logged over the last two years, then that’s pretty darn good. He’s streaky, but most shooters are.
  4. He was a better defender this year. He’s making improvements on that side of the floor. Added some bulk to his frame and moves his feet better.
  5. He shot 9-30 from three in the Atlanta playoff series. Like most of the team, he just wasn’t hitting the shots he needed to hit.
  6. He’s still young, just 24 years old. Feels like he’s been around forever.

As for Dwight Howard going back to the Lakers, well, he was the best backup center they’ve had for Joel Embiid. I know they dropped off pretty significantly in the playoffs when he came on the floor, but Embiid was the MVP runner-up, so anybody is going to look like relative shit subbing in for Joel. That’s more indicative of how good Embiid is vs. how “bad” anybody else is. I think our view of that has always been skewed since Embiid is really the engine that runs the whole thing. It’s like taking LeBron off the floor. Of course you’re gonna struggle.

The Lakers are up against the cap after the Russell Westbrook trade, and they need super cheap players to fill out that roster. Dwight was a great fit for them in 2020, won a ring, and will try to do it again this year. Makes sense for him, but the Sixers once again find themselves looking for another big behind Joel. They’ve cycled through Amir Johnson, Richaun Holmes, Greg Monroe, Boban Marjanovic, Dwight, a staggered Al Horford, and tried various smaller lineups with Ersan Ilyasova and Dario Saric playing small ball five. Seems like they’re looking for a backup big every season, doesn’t it?

The cycle continues.

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