It has been a few weeks since I last answered questions. So, as has become customary, it is time for another mailbag. This one featured questions focused on the moves to come for the Sixers as the 2020 season concludes and the 2021 season approaches.
When is Harris moving them to Trenton since the Del Ave thing fell through?— its only Joe (@Ruin2day) October 12, 2020
This is a funny one because of its rhetoric nature, so props to you, Joe. But, it is a very good question, and a very tough one to answer, at that. First, I think they could wait a season or two and try to find a new location in Philly to get approved. They launched this most recent campaign on the heels of a brutal season in which they lost the interest of the majority of the city. If they have one or multiple strong rebound campaigns, they might be able to elicit a positive response if a new location becomes available.
Another factor is local taxation in New Jersey relative to that of Pennsylvania. If tax laws change to become more or less attractive in one state than the other, that can facilitate significant change in how the ownership group views a move to New Jersey.
There are a lot of things that can change the prospects of a move out of Philadelphia. As you’ve probably heard elsewhere numerous times before, though, Camden would appear to be the favorite to host the 76ers, not Trenton.
Who are some bench pieces you think the Sixers could target on a MLE or Vet Minimums or just reasonable contracts?— 🖤 ALL BLACK WOMEN MATTER 🖤 (@Kali_dream11) October 12, 2020
Thanks for the question, Kali! There is still a ton of uncertainty regarding how the salary figures will look for next season, so it’s hard to say at this time. I think there’s a chance–albeit small–they bring back one of Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III. I’m thinking Burks, specifically. If his market doesn’t materialize as he had hoped, the idea of playing the “Lou Will” role off of Doc Rivers’ bench could be appealing. In that case, maybe he takes a one-year deal in hopes of having a strong season and building his market up for next summer. However, I would think that, after seasons of fighting the injury bug, he might be looking for security over a number of years, even in a down market.
I also think it’s possible that they look to return Ryan Broekhoff on a very team-friendly deal. Broekhoff might not be someone they plan using heavily in the rotation. But, he’s established a reputation as a great shooter and is used to buying into a small role.
Depending on what they do in the draft, they could very well be in play for a veteran backup point guard capable of making three-point shots and operating in the pick-and-roll. A guy like DJ Augustin would make sense in that role.
If they trade Horford (I think they will try very hard to do so), they will be in the market for a cost-efficient backup center. Something more than a rim-runner makes sense if Simmons is playing minutes with the second unit. So, a stretch big who sets screens and is capable of adapting to a small role would be appealing. To me, that could be Meyers Leonard.
Moving Al sounds like an obvious move, any chance we move Tobias and his contract as well?— Zachary East (@ZacharyEast12) October 12, 2020
Hey, Zach. Thanks for the question! I doubt Harris is moved for reasons both internal to and external to the Sixers. While the fans have completely underrated his production, he is making superstar money. A number of NBA agents told me that the Sixers paid far and away above his market value. So, I don’t think there is a ton of interest in his contract around the NBA. On the Sixers’ end, he has been an excellent presence in their locker room. I also believe they feel they can get more out of him under a different coach. The fact that that coach is Doc Rivers–under whom Harris had his best season–aids that internal belief in him. I would be very surprised if he isn’t here for at least one more season.
Favorite players in this year's draft?— K (@Gaudy) October 12, 2020
Great question, K! While the top of this draft isn’t particularly electrifying, the mid-to-late first round is packed with attractive pieces. Right now, I’m very high on Desmond Bane out of TCU. Many are high on Tyrell Terry, amongst those interested being the Sixers. But, I find him to be somewhat small and not as conducive to versatility across different types of lineups. Although, his ability to shoot the rock is undeniable. I also like the idea of adding Malachi Flynn at 21 to be the backup point guard and using second rounders to add shooting. My favorite second round prospects are Immanuel Quickley and Jordan Nwora.
What do you think the starting lineup is gonna look like this upcoming season?— Dylan Culbertson (@DC_8950) October 12, 2020
Hey Dylan, thanks for the question. The feeling I get is that this is going to be a polar-opposite offseason in that the roster changes will be significant or non-existent. So, it’s hard to say. My guess would be:
People can argue about the fit of each of those players at those positions. But, if you recall, Doc Rivers mentioned at his introductory press conference that he doesn’t define players by position. Sure, there are only two legitimate shooters in that lineup, and Thybulle was a negative on offense in his rookie season. But, I don’t believe that they have the assets to execute multiple trades to completely rework the starting unit. So, they may be forced to elevate Thybulle’s role and start him. Remember, Doc is not known to give rookies significant trust. So, I don’t believe that a rookie is going to come in at the 21st pick and start for Rivers.
Obviously, the elephant in that group is Hield. I believe they will work hard to get a deal done, and I think a package could look like Horford, Richardson, Milton, and a 2020 second round pick for Hield and Cory Joseph.
With salary cap issues . Who will be the most likely players moved ? Will Sixers pick all 4 off their second rounders their year bcuz of cap probs ?— Carmen (@carmballer) October 12, 2020
Great question, Carmen! I would bet that at least one of Horford and Richardson gets moved. Maybe they get moved together (as mentioned above), or maybe it happens in separate deals to add experienced depth to the roster.
As for the second part of your question, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they traded away a second round pick or multiple. They may have to to get off of Horford’s contract or maybe even incentivize someone to take Mike Scott’s contract so that they can free up that money.
Great questions, everyone. I look forward to answering more in a few weeks!