Each day leading up to Sept. 21, the official start of Sixers training camp, we'll dissect the biggest storylines facing the team ahead of the 2018-19 season.
In today’s Give and Go, Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick dive into the Sixers’ offseason roster moves.
Whenever you miss out on players that are known primarily on a first-name basis or by nicknames — LeBron, PG-13, Kawhi — it’s not a good thing. But while the Sixers’ star hunting came up empty, not all was lost this summer.
After aiming at superstar targets went awry, the Sixers immediately shifted their focus to retaining JJ Redick and for good reason. The veteran sharpshooter enjoyed a career year in 2017-18 (personal-best 17.1 points per game on 42.0 percent three-point shooting) and was the real key to unlocking the team’s entire offense.
While the Sixers did lose reserves Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova, they supplemented those exits with more defensive-minded players by re-signing Amir Johnson, acquiring Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala and bringing over Jonah Bolden.
The draft didn’t wow me, but the Sixers stuck with their plan of selecting multidimensional players with plenty of potential. They also managed to snag a future first-round pick in the Mikal Bridges trade.
Above all else, the Sixers didn’t take on any significant contracts and are well-positioned to dip back into the star-hunting pool against next summer.
Always maintain the optionality.
The Sixers swung and missed on LeBron James. There was reported interest in Paul George, but he stayed in OKC. They didn’t pull off a trade for Kawhi Leonard either. Of course, the Sixers would be better off if they’d landed one of these players, but it doesn’t seem like it was possible.
The Sixers didn’t get James because of geography, not for basketball reasons. They didn’t get George because he was happy playing with Russell Westbrook. They didn’t get Leonard because the Spurs were interested in an established All-Star like DeMar DeRozan and reportedly would’ve wanted either Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons in a trade with the Sixers.
Looking at what the Sixers actually got done, it’s hard to not like their offseason. They re-signed Redick, an important veteran cog to their playoff run last season. In two separate trades, they were able to acquire Chandler and Muscala, two versatile veterans that should give this team a boost off the bench. They also re-signed reliable big man Johnson and added 2016 second-round pick Bolden to the mix.
For a team without a GM, they’ve been able to navigate things pretty well. The draft-night trade — though not loved by ‘Nova Nation — was a strong move. They got a piece with a ton of potential in Zhaire Smith and also acquired an unprotected 2021 first-round pick that could prove to be extremely valuable.
It could’ve been better, but a solid job overall.
For another opinion on the Sixers’ offseason, check out our NBCSports.com colleague Dan Feldman’s take.