In NBA circles, the summer of 2016 will be known as the chunk of time that free agents were handed millions of dollars like it was Monopoly cash.
Fringe players were awarded millions simply because the collective bargaining agreement was set up in such a way.
The Sixers haven’t panicked.
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They could have thrown $100 million at a player like Harrison Barnes. After three seasons of disastrous results — 47-199 — Bryan Colangelo has walked cautiously. It has been a brilliant business decision.
The Sixers have added several pieces — guards Gerald Henderson (two years, $18 million), Sergio Rodriguez (one year, $8 million) and Jerryd Bayless (three years, $27 million).
Sexy signings? No.
Smart additions? Absolutely.
There’s absolutely no reason to rush at this point. It looks like Dario Saric is on his way. It looks like Joel Embiid is ready to begin his promising career. It looks like Jahlil Okafor is healthy and ready for a strong sophomore season. It looks like Nerlens Noel is prepared to improve.
Of course, trades are always possible. But the whole point all along was to slowly build this franchise. There’s no quick fix.
The biggest change just may be No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons.
Let’s be realistic for a minute.
When the Sixers selected Allen Iverson with the No. 1 overall selection in 1996 following an 18-64 debacle, the future immediately looked brighter. It got that way with a trip to the NBA Finals in 2001.
One season after adding The Answer, the Sixers win total improved from 18 to 22. Yes, a total of four wins. Transformation of a franchise doesn’t occur overnight.
Could the Sixers have moved swifter with a free agent signing such as Jamal Crawford? He’s a terrific veteran player, but at this stage, it’s best to wait and watch the young players develop.
Imagine a starting lineup of Simmons, Henderson, Saric, Noel and Okafor. Embiid, Robert Covington, Bayless, Rodriguez and others would be available off the bench. This is a nice picture.
The win total won’t likely shock many people. If Iverson was good for a four-win improvement, what would be a number for this group? If they move from 10 wins to 28, that would be stellar. The Minnesota Timberwolves won 29 games last season with the likes of Karl Anthony-Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. This team is loaded with young talented players, but the wins didn’t reflect that progress.
Be patient, Sixers fans. This building may not produce a championship. But they’re doing it the right way. The last three seasons were painful. This season should be enjoyable.
With assets overseas and through the draft, just think about what the franchise may look like in two or three more seasons. The fan base should be excited