NBA free agency is now open for discussion. Teams will have to wait until Friday to officially put pen to paper. But, negotiations can begin. Of course, no one actually follows those rules. Many of these deals were consummated some time ago. Some noise has been louder than other noise, and the Sixers have maintained a low profile while the smoke has built elsewhere around the league. But, this space will be used to track their re-signings, additions, and losses.
Re-Sign Furkan Korkmaz
Philly got on the board about ninety minutes into the race, re-committing to sharpshooting wing Furkan Korkmaz. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers have re-upped the 24-year-old wing on a three-year deal worth a total of $15 million. Philadelphia had Korkmaz’s full Bird rights. So, this deal does not come at the expense of the team’s Mid-Level Exception. Korkmaz, while suffering a slight dip in efficiency from the previous year despite maintaining his volume of field goal attempts, made strides as both a playmaker off the dribble and defender on the perimeter.
Dwight Howard Heads Back To LA
About thirty minutes after the Sixers re-upped Korkmaz, they lost veteran center Dwight Howard. The future Hall-of-Fame big man agreed to a third stint with the Lakers. The 35-year-old enjoyed a fine regular season with the Sixers this past season. But, he played to a negative impact for Philadelphia in the playoffs. His play in the Sixers’ second round demise left sour memories in the minds of viewers all over the tristate area. Perhaps his antics and sense of humor will be missed. But, there are certainly arguments to be made for many of the remaining free agent bigs serving as upgrades over Howard’s on-court product.
Sixers Waive George Hill
Shortly before 1 AM on Tuesday, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that the Sixers plan to waive guard George Hill. Hill had a guarantee on his contract that had a due date of August 3rd. So, the Sixers decided to make their move on decision day.
The Sixers acquired Hill from the Thunder at the trade deadline for a package that included impressive young center Tony Bradley Jr. Hill struggled to find his footing with the Sixers after missing significant time with a thumb injury. In the playoffs, Hill became far too passive as a shooter. While he was a reliable defender on the perimeter, he exhibited significant regression in his overall offensive play. Hill was supposed to add some veteran playmaking at the guard spots. Instead, there was a perfectly rational argument to be made that he should’ve been out of the rotation in the second round.
In waiving Hill, the Sixers save close to $8.8 million in guaranteed salary.
Andre Drummond Replaces Dwight Howard
Early on Tuesday afternoon, the Sixers signed veteran big man Andre Drummond to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Drummond has often found himself at the center of jokes due to occasional blooper-level plays. After being waived by the Cavaliers in the middle of last season, Drummond latched on with the Lakers and struggled mightily.
Obviously, the fit is incredibly awkward next to Ben Simmons for reasons that we understand quite well. That’s why I suspect a deal to send Simmons out is on the horizon. If that’s the case, this is a strong pivot from Daryl Morey and company. It’s generally very difficult for a team to be on the losing end of a veteran minimum deal. Drummond is a historically strong rebounder and, if not tasked with doing too much, can be effective in a narrowed role. Dwight Howard is probably a better defensive player, but Drummond is a better passer. So, while he’s not stretching the floor, he’s offering a touch of versatility on offense that Howard did not.
Sign Georges Niang
The Sixers did not stop at Andre Drummond. On Tuesday evening, they added Georges Niang on a two-year, $6.7 million deal, a team source confirmed to The Painted Lines. The deal was first reported by Grant Afseth–who then deleted the report from his Twitter account. A few hours later, Ben Dowsett published the news before veteran NBA insider Marc Stein tweeted it out, himself.
Signing Niang seems to confirm what we all suspected–the Mike Scott era in Philadelphia is over. Niang, a 28-year-old power forward who spent the last three seasons with the Jazz, will provide the floor-spacing at the front-court positions that the Sixers so often lacked over the last few seasons. At 6-foot-7, his positional size makes it likely that he’s confined to the power forward position. That’s not necessarily a bad thing–he can hold his own on the defensive side of the ball. But, it certainly isn’t conducive to the optionality that the Sixers want.
His offensive game is copacetic to what the Sixers are looking to do with Ben Simmons and the second unit. He plays inside-out, so he’s comfortable with scoring from the perimeter but can mix in some off-ball cuts to the rim or straight-line dribble penetration.
The Sixers used a portion of their Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception to secure Niang’s services. They have approximately $2.6 million of space under the Taxpayer clause before they breach the Non-taxpayer clause. If they were to climb into that space, they would become hard-capped. At that point, Philly would be unable to re-sign Danny Green even though they possess his Bird rights. So, as of now, there is no salary cap factor preventing the Sixers from re-upping Green.