On June 20th, the Atlanta Hawks shocked the world and eliminated the 1st-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Many NBA fans, reporters, and analysts were expecting Philadelphia to have a roller coaster of an offseason because of this upset. Furthermore, there were a multitude of trade rumors and reports surrounding Philadelphia’s star Ben Simmons. This was understandable considering how badly Simmons struggled offensively against Atlanta in last season’s playoffs.
There are a few days left before NBA training camp begins and the offseason has basically concluded. Over the course of the Summer, Philadelphia has had a rather quiet offseason. The regime made changes in smaller areas such as frontcourt depth and they surprisingly used all three of their draft picks.
2021 NBA Draft
The Philadelphia 76ers selected guard Jaden Springer from Tennessee with the 28th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. As a result of this selection, Philadelphia improved their wing depth. They now have Danny Green, Furkan Korkmaz, Matisse Thybulle, and now Jaden Springer. However, the 76ers biggest needs were a traditional point guard or a shot-creating guard. To fulfill those demands, Philadelphia should have considered drafting players such as Miles McBride (West Virginia), Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois), or Sharife Cooper (Auburn).
Regardless, Jaden Springer would go on to average 11.0 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.6 APG, shot 37.9% from the field, and only netted 13.3% of his threes. In the Summer League, Springer struggled from an offensive standpoint. Nonetheless, he performed very well on the defensive end and showed potential as a slasher. Moreover, Springer had his best performance in Philadelphia’s last Summer League game against the Utah Jazz. He contributed 21 PTS, 2 REB, and 3 AST. All in all, Jaden Springer is only 18 years and will most likely spend a lot of time with the Delaware Blue Coats this upcoming season.
Following the Jaden Springer selection, Philadelphia picked Serbian big man Filip Petrusev with the 50th overall pick. On the court Petrusev could contribute floor spacing and rim protection average to this 76ers team.
In the Summer League, Filip Petrusev struggled offensively, but he defended the paint extremely well. Petrusev averaged 2.0 BPG in the four games he played. Additionally, Petrusev contributed an underwhelming 4.3 PPG and 2.8 RPG. Most importantly, Filip Petrusev is a “draft and stash” player as he is currently playing overseas for Anadolu Efes in a league based in Turkey.
Per @PompeyOnSixers,— Sixers Nation (@PHLSixersNation) August 6, 2021
Filip Petrusev will remain overseas this season.
He IS able to get out of the contract and has a desire to come over ASAP.
But Daryl has made the decision that he will spend at least another year overseas.
With their 53rd overall pick, Philadelphia selected center Charles Bassey from Western Kentucky. Last season Bassey averaged 17.6 PPG, 11.6 RPG, and shot an efficient 59% from the field. In college, Charles Bassey had an elite two-way impact serving as a shot blocker and a threat in the paint and from mid-range.
Unfortunately, Bassey did not participate in the Summer League event in Las Vegas this past summer due to contract negotiations. As reported by Dereck Bodner of The Athletic, Charles Bassey’s camp wanted a multi-year deal with two years guaranteed. For some time, Philadelphia did not cater to this, but both sides eventually came to an agreement this past Friday. Bassey ended up inking a three-year contract with the first season guaranteed and the second year partially guaranteed.
Following the events of the NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers signed undrafted forward Aaron Henry to a two-way contract. With the Michigan State Spartans, Henry led the team in scoring last year averaging 15.4 points per game. In the Summer League, Aaron Henry had a solid two-way production off the bench. He shot very well off of screens and could cut to the basket. Statistically, Henry averaged 7.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and shot 50% from the field.
NBA Free Agency
During the first busy evening of NBA Free Agency, the Philadelphia 76ers retained swingman Furkan Korkmaz. He earned a contract worth $15 million for the next three years. Further, Philadelphia possessed Korkmaz’s full bird rights meaning that this deal does not affect their salary cap situation.
Over the last two years, Furkan Korkmaz has become a fan favorite in the city of Philadelphia. This past season, Korkmaz gained more muscle, improved as a slasher, and as a defender (slightly). He averaged 9.1 PPG, shot 40.1% from the field, and 37.5% from beyond the arc. Though Korkmaz is rather inconsistent, bringing him back on this team-friendly deal is a solid move on and off the court.
During the Summer, Furkan Korkmaz participated in the 2021 Olympic games playing for Turkey. Turkey was eliminated 81-63 on July 3rd by Greece, despite a 20 point performance from Korkmaz. In three Olympic games, Furkan Korkmaz led the team in scoring with 16 PPG. Following the events of the Olympics, Korkmaz stayed overseas to train for the upcoming NBA season. He is now back at the training facility in Camden with the rest of the team.
Furkan Korkmaz just posted the best offseason workout hype video I’ve ever seen from a NBA player.— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) September 23, 2021
Surprisingly, fan favorite center Dwight Howard returned to the Los Angeles Lakers on a minimum contract. Howard’s impact on and off the court was invaluable to a contending 76ers team. In response to this, Philadelphia signed former all-star Andre Drummond to a one-year veteran minimum deal. Is Andre Drummond an upgrade from Dwight Howard; that is for you to decide. Both big men have very similar skill sets offensively being lob threats and elite rebounders.
Andre Drummond started the 2020-2021 season as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. During his 25 game tenure with the Cavs, he averaged 17.5 PPG and 13.5 RPG. Eventually, Drummond and Cleveland agreed to a contract buyout. That led him to sign with the contending Los Angeles Lakers. Unfortunately, LA struggled to stay healthy with stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James both suffering significant injuries. Additionally, the fit between Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond did not work due to their respective playstyles.
Earlier in their careers, Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond had an entertaining rivalry that. Embiid in his words “owned real estate” in Drummond head. After Drummond signed with the 76ers, people questioned the relationship between the two and if it would affect team chemistry. Andre Drummond cleared this up by stating “There was never any real beef. At the end of the day, it’s basketball.”
One of Philadelphia’s biggest roster holes last season was power forward depth. Veteran Mike Scott was not good enough due to his offensive struggles and decision making. At times during the season, Tobias Harris was forced to play backup power forward and other times the lineups were somewhat positionless with Matisse Thybulle at the four.
To fill this void, the Philadelphia 76ers signed former Jazz player Georges Niang to a team-friendly two-year deal worth $6.7 million. Niang is a great fit for the 76ers as he provides floor spacing at the four position. Doc Rivers’ bench rotations will be much improved with Niang in the mix. Last season with the Utah Jazz, Georges Niang averaged 6.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG, and shot an impressive 42.5% from three-point range. The forward is excited to play for the city of Philadelphia and he understands that if you win a championship here you are “taken care of forever”.
Danny Green was a throw-in as a part of the Al Horford to Oklahoma City trade. Fortunately, Green ended up bringing value to the team as a quality starter and a great team leader. President of Operations Daryl Morey added “Bringing Danny back was a top priority for our organization this offseason. He has proven to be an important leader on and off the floor, and he knows what it takes to win an NBA title as a three-time champion.”
A few days into the free agency period, the 76ers retained the veteran wing to a 2-year deal worth $20 million. Resigning Danny Green was a must for this contending 76ers team because of the spacing and two-way play he brings. On top of this, Green is a perfect fit next to franchise cornerstone Joel Embiid and helps keep the team’s composure. In a sad turn of events, Danny Green suffered a right calf strain and missed most of the series against the Atlanta Hawks. Having the veteran come playoff time will be a great advantage.
To the surprise of many, the 76ers waived fan favorite Rayjon Tucker and later signed Grant Riller to a two-way contract. This will be Riller’s second year in the NBA and he will look to get more of an opportunity in the G-League. Last season he played a minimal role for the Greensboro Swarm averaging less than four minutes per game. Riller is a scoring guard who averaged 21.0 PPG as a part of the College of Charleston. The 2nd-year guard has great respect for the 76ers organization: “The history behind this organization. The history of the city. Growing up, I watched the Sixers on TV all the time… I know how much of a historic organization it is and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
Ben Simmons Trade Request
During the offseason, there has been a never-ending drama between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers. There have been plenty of trade rumors centering the Minnesota Timberwolves and Simmons from various NBA reporters, but there has not been serious trade talks as of now. New Timberwolves head of basketball operations Sachin Gupta will reportedly “work his a** off” to try and acquire Ben Simmons. Realistically, in order for the 76ers to even pick up the phone, either rising star Anthony Edwards or D’Angelo Russell would have to be included.
Earlier this month, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Ben Simmons will not report to training camp and plans to sit out. Last week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed this and added that Simmons has not spoken with the organization since late August. Furthermore, Brian Windhorst stated that Simmons never wants to show his face at Wells Fargo Center again. Members of the 76ers such as Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Matisse Thybulle even tried to fly out to Los Angeles with intentions of convincing him to stay, but Simmons told them to come according to Shams Charania.
Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle & Sixers players were going to fly to LA this week to meet with Ben Simmons to convince him to stay with Sixers, but Ben told them not to come because he is not changing his mind on wanting a trade, according to @ShamsCharania pic.twitter.com/Tnvwcw7sfa— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 25, 2021
Doc Rivers’ Involvement
To make matters more complicated, Doc Rivers appeared on ESPN’s First Take this past week. After the shocking game 7 loss against the Atlanta Hawks, Rivers was asked if they could win a championship with Ben Simmons. He replied “I don’t know that question or the answer to that right now.” On First Take, Doc told Stephen A. Smith that he was misinterpreted and his response “had nothing to do with Ben.” Whether Doc Rivers was misinterpreted or not, it does not change the situation.
Rivers was also on another program last week and went further saying “There’s times that I think we’re getting through. And there’s times that I think that I’m talking to people who still believe Trump won the election. So I’m not sure, but I’m going to keep trying.” This was in response to him being asked if Ben Simmons will join the 76ers this season.
Doc Rivers on Ben Simmons informing the 76ers that he wants to be traded;— First Take (@FirstTake) September 22, 2021
"I can tell you up front, we would love to get Ben back. And if we can, we're going to try to do that. pic.twitter.com/JeWoIE3W7U
The Philadelphia 76ers have had a quiet but productive offseason in terms of trades and free agency signings. However, the Ben Simmons, Rich Paul, and 76ers drama continues to worsen as the NBA awaits an inevitable trade.