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76ers Offseason Predictions: Draft and Free Agency

None of us truly have a clue how an NBA offseason will play out before it begins, but it doesn’t keep us from talking about potential draft picks, free agency signings, and trades. The Philadelphia 76ers have some decisions to make, so let’s predict exactly how the offseason goes.

Who is still on the team?

The Sixers will go into the offseason with far fewer players under contract than we’ve witnessed throughout the 2018-19 regular season and playoffs. Joel Embiid will be back, making $27,504,630, along with Ben Simmons who is owed $8,113,930.

Zhaire Smith, who just completed his extremely strange rookie season, will make $3,058,800 in his second year, and Jonah Bolden is set to earn $1,698,450. Now, for the guys that are on the books, but at the same time aren’t because how dare them for wanting more money.

Jimmy Butler and James Ennis III have player options due; Butler’s being $19,841,627 and Ennis III at $1,845,301. It’s safe to assume they’ll decline those options and look for more money from the Sixers or elsewhere.

Lastly, Jonathon Simmons has a partially guaranteed deal, which is on the books for $5,700,000 and $1,000,000 in dead cap. Now, for the first of the predictions:

  • Jimmy Butler declines his player option and enters free agency.
  • James Ennis III declines his player option and enters free agency.
  • The Sixers cut Jonathon Simmons.

Draft Lottery Results (the Sacramento Kings pick)

In shocking fashion, the Kings pick will not jump into the top three of the draft. The reason this is noteworthy: per the Markelle Fultz trade (the first one – the one with the Boston Celtics), the Sixers sent this Sacramento pick to the Celtics, but would have kept it if it jumped and became the first pick in the draft.

Instead of sitting atop the lotto, the Sixers will go into the offseason with the following draft picks:

  • 24th pick (Philadelphia 1st)
  • 33rd pick (Cleveland 2nd)
  • 34th pick (Chicago 2nd)
  • 44th pick (Sacramento 2nd)
  • 54th pick (Philadelphia 2nd)

Sixers Draft Selections

With five selections in the NBA Draft, there’s a small chance they keep every pick, but for the ones they do hold on to, expect the team to draft best player available at each slot. The team has less bullets in the chamber, compared to previous years, but don’t rule them out from getting creative on draft night.

With the 24th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select….

  • Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

With the 33rd pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select….

With the 34th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers….

  • Trade the 34th pick to the New Orleans Pelicans for the 2021 Washington Wizards 2nd, along with the 2023 Washington Wizards 2nd

With the 44th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select…

  • Jontay Porter, C, Missouri

With the 54th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers….

  • Trade the 54th pick to the New York Knicks for the 2020 Charlotte Hornets 2nd
Now who is on the team?

The Sixers went into the draft with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Zhaire Smith, and Jonah Bolden. Here is their updated, abbreviated depth chart:

  • Center: Joel Embiid, Jontay Porter
  • Power Forward: Jonah Bolden
  • Small Forward: Cameron Johnson
  • Shooting Guard: Zhaire Smith, Tyler Herro
  • Point Guard: Ben Simmons
Free Agency begins…

This will be the most stressful period of the offseason for both the organization, as well as 76ers fans. Do they keep Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris? Do they lose one and keep the other? Do they lose both?

Note: These moves are in no order.

  • The 76ers re-sign Tobias Harris to a max contract.

Tobias Harris might not be worth a maximum deal, but as your third or fourth focus on offense, he is worth every penny. The longer he plays with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, the stronger his on-court impact will be.

  • TJ McConnell agrees to a deal with the Phoenix Suns for four years, $30 million.

The Sixers simply could not afford to keep McConnell for that money. The Suns may have overpaid here, but the University of Arizona standout goes back west and claims an important role with the team moving forward.

  • JJ Redick re-signs with the 76ers for one year, $5 million.

JJ Redick has been vocal about his appreciation towards Brett Brown and the Philadelphia organization. He could have received more money elsewhere, but at this point of his career, it’s all about fit, winning, and familiarity.

  • Furkan Korkmaz signs with the Cleveland Cavaliers for three years, $12 million.

Korkmaz’s time in Philly is done. He becomes a role spark off Cleveland’s bench and gets paid to do it. When Philadelphia declined Furkan’s option during the 2018-19 season, it was debated throughout Sixers Twitter. In retrospect, Elton Brand made the right move.

  • Mike Scott signs with the Brooklyn Nets for one year, $12 million.

This one hurts. Mike Scott was a fan favorite in Philadelphia, but he just couldn’t turn down the money that Brooklyn was willing to offer. Scott, who arguably hit the biggest shot of the series against the Nets in the first round of the playoffs, now joins the other side and claims the Jared Dudley role.

  • James Ennis III re-signs with the 76ers for two years, $14 million

Ennis became a key piece for the Sixers off the bench and for this money, he better earn it. He received interest elsewhere, but it came down to his love for the city of Philadelphia and his budding friendships with his new teammates.

  • Jimmy Butler signs a max contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, joining Kawhi Leonard to form the newest power couple out west.

When the Sixers traded Robert Covington and Dario Saric for Butler, we all knew the risk that was attached. From the start, it was 50/50. In the end, it came down to this: Butler knew the Sixers were Embiid and Simmons’ team. The combination of the Los Angeles lifestyle and a larger role won him over in the end.

  • Danny Green signs with the 76ers for three years, $45 million.

Outside shooting. Defense. System basketball. Green is no Butler, but he’s a great fit in Brett Brown’s offense. Green, a Spursian wing, is a three-point threat and a solid defender. I know for a fact that the Sixers front office loves him.

  • Boban Marjanovic re-signs with the Sixers for one year, $3 million.

This is simple. He simply cannot leave Tobias Harris.

  • Pat Beverley signs with the 76ers for one year, $15 million.

The Sixers lost a ton of grit with Jimmy Butler moving on, but they didn’t miss a beat, adding Beverley, a soon-to-be fan favorite in Philadelphia. He will be Ben Simmons’ backup, and could be a potential spot starter if JJ goes to the bench.

  • Markieff Morris signs with the Sixers for one year, $5 million.

This rounds out the bigger free agency signings for the Sixers and adds some much-needed depth at the power forward position. Morris isn’t a star by any means, but he is an experienced NBA vet who will give the team quality minutes.

It’s also important to note that Shake Milton will almost certainly be back with the 76ers organization at some level.

NOW who is on the team???

The team lost Jimmy Butler, but are they actually better now? Here is their updated depth chart:

  • Center: Joel Embiid, Boban Marjanovic, Jontay Porter
  • Power Forward: Tobias Harris, Markieff Morris, Jonah Bolden
  • Small Forward: Danny Green, James Ennis III, Cameron Johnson
  • Shooting Guard: JJ Redick, Zhaire Smith, Tyler Herro
  • Point Guard: Ben Simmons, Pat Beverley, Shake Milton
Where do we go from here?

The Sixers lost Jimmy Butler and to some, this offseason was a loss, but one of the team’s biggest holes this past season was the bench. They were running a seven-man rotation in the playoffs. It’s not out of the ordinary for coaches to play their best players over 40 minutes in pivotal playoff matchups, but depth and positional flexibility is a weapon.

The NBA offseason never sleeps. As usual, so much will happen. It’ll be stressful and it’ll be pivotal for Elton Brand and Brett Brown, who will reportedly remain with the 76ers for the 2019-20 season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Predictions are predictions. Now, it’s your turn.

Brian Jacobs

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