Free agency is always enticing.
Yet it’s not always the answer.
It provides an immediate satisfaction like Twitter, but for a franchise with long term goals, the short term results aren’t necessarily worth it.
The 76ers are about to enter year five of the rebuild – or “The Process” – under coach Brett Brown. The 2017-18 season is crucial because losing should no longer be accepted. After 75 wins in the four previous seasons, it’s time to win.
The Sixers have a bevy of options with which to improve and the NBA draft lottery on May 16 will provide further clarity. They could wind up with the No. 1 overall pick again. They could swap picks with the Sacramento Kings. The Sixers could manage two picks in the top seven if the Los Angeles Lakers’ pick falls to them.
Joel Embiid is likely to return at 100 percent after playing in only 31 games last season. Ben Simmons is expected to make his NBA debut after missing the entire season with a foot injury suffered in training camp. Robert Covington should be healthy following offseason surgery. Jerryd Bayless’ repaired wrist will almost certainly be ready to knock down shots. Dario Saric will be back stronger than ever following a successful rookie season.
There are other roster spots to be won.
Depending on how the lottery shakes out, the Sixers will feature a much, much improved roster for the starved fan base.
Then there’s free agency. At times, it can be so enticing.
For the Sixers, they should hang back and not make a big splash. Really? Yes.
This young team needs to continue building through the draft. Had Embiid and Simmons been healthy all season, the Sixers would have made a run for the playoffs. The patience exuded by Sixers fans has been remarkable.
No need to rush now.
Spending an exorbitant amount of money on a player like Raptors guard Kyle Lowry makes very little sense. The 31-year-old Lowry is a terrific player, but he’s also injury-prone. When he’s 34 or 35 and has $25 million coming, the Sixers will realize the contract needs to be reworked.
Lowry would provide a spark and could even make the All-Star team. This is a tricky situation in one of the most unique rebuilds around. The Sixers should stay far away.
All young teams need veteran leadership and the Sixers are no different.
Adding a key free agent who will fit in and not cost hundreds of millions is exactly what they need.
How about guard Gerald Green (Celtics) or forward Serge Ibaka (Raptors)? Both players are unrestricted free agents and would give the Sixers added strength at positions of need. The Sixers need shooters and versatile forwards. Either player would make the roster stronger.
Next season, when the young Sixers roster – whomever they will be – improves even more, then adding a big-name free agent will make more sense. Otherwise, they’ll be going backward. At this stage, the only way to move is forward.