When it was announced that the NBA’s salary cap would rise to a whopping $94 million for the upcoming season, many expected the Philadelphia 76ers to be amongst the most active teams in free agency. However, up until this point the Sixers, while showing rumored interest in high profile veterans such as Jamal Crawford and upstart young talent like Allen Crabbe, have been relatively conservative with their expansive cap room.
Instead of giving Crawford the $42 million, three-year contract he eventually got from the Clippers, Bryan Colangelo opted to give veteran guard Gerald Henderson a deal that pays him just $18 million over the next two years. Rather than sign Crabbe to a $75 million offer sheet, the Sixers’ president of basketball operations inked point guards Sergio Rodriguez and Jerryd Bayless to deals worth a combined $17 million during the 2016-2017 season. And he is being lauded for it.
Philadelphia is likely not done reconstructing its roster, however. While the Sixers are almost certainly not going to start spending now, and overpay for Dion Waiters’ nice playoff run, Colangelo could look to keep adding veterans who can mentor Philadelphia’s young talent.
One such player is Jarrett Jack, who averaged 12.8 points per game, to go along with 7.4 assists, in the 2015-2016 season. On the surface, Bayless and Jack seem to be very similar players. However, Bayless, who shot 43 percent from beyond the arc, was signed to provide floor spacing. He averaged just 3.1 assists for the Milwaukee Bucks last year. Jack, meanwhile is a pass first point guard who can lead the second unit, and provide relief for Ben Simmons if the ball-handling duties become burdensome for the talented rookie.
David Lee also serves as an example of the type of player Colangelo may target. While Philadelphia did not trade Jahlil Okafor on draft night, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald is reporting that he is still available. In the event that he gets dealt, a solid veteran power forward who commands less minutes in the frontcourt rotation is exactly what the Sixers need.
Lee may not be an All-Star any longer, but he remains a skilled veteran who plays within his limits, and who averaged 7.8 points, as well as 5.5 rebounds last year. That is more than can be said of current Sixer, Carl Landry. Beyond that, Lee’s experience playing in Golden State, where the NBA standard for pace, and success is now being set, is worth slightly overpaying for on a team that still remains so young.
As the Sixers build around Simmons there are plenty of off-seasons to come where Colangelo will spend in order to bring a championship to Philadelphia. This is not one of them. And in today’s game, where Timofey Mozgov, (who averaged less points per game than Lee) just signed a $64 million dollar deal, that is smart. By the same token, so is signing established veterans and creating a presence which has been lacking in Philadelphia.