76ers

Former NBA executive ranks 10 best free agent contracts, loves a Sixers sleeper

Former NBA executive ranks 10 best free agent contracts, loves a Sixers sleeper

The Sixers' roster construction has been heavily scrutinized this season, and for good reason. Players like Al Horford and Tobias Harris commanded huge contracts while the starting lineup failed to gel.

But according to one former NBA exec, free agency wasn't all misses for still-green general manager Elton Brand.

John Hollinger, former Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Grizzlies, ranked his 10 favorite free agent contracts in terms of value, and one Sixers player landed on the list:

Fan-favorite guard Shake Milton.

Here's why Hollinger loves the Milton contract so much:

Shake Milton, 76ers | 3 years, $5.5 million remaining

This could end up as a massive win for Philly, as Milton still has three years left on his contract and it’s a minimum deal, the so-called 'Hinkie Special' that virtually every Sixers roster addition signed during The Process era. While Milton was a draft pick, his contract was not a rookie deal – he served as a two-way player in 2018-19 before inking a four-year deal this past summer.

Milton established himself as a back-end rotation player in Philly this season and, at 23 years old, has time to launch his career further in the coming years.

It's not as splashy or exciting as nailing a superstar contract, but those will rarely win in the "value" category because of how much money the league's best players command.

Milton has been a lot of fun to watch this year, and showed improvement in nearly every department. At the time of the NBA's season pause, he was averaging 9.5 points and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 45.3 percent from deep and 76.5 percent from the free throw line.

And, of course, we had The Shake Milton Game, a midseason joy unto itself.

The Sixers nailing it with a guy like Milton is certainly a good sign about Brand's ability to find hidden talent and build a team in the margins, an important skill in the era of the supermax contract.

(Of course, Hollinger listed both Horford and Harris among the six worst free agent contracts in a separate list, so Brand still has some work to do.)

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Sixers Talk podcast: Ready or not, here come the Celtics

getty-joel-embiid-jayson-tatum.jpg
NBCSP/Getty Images

Sixers Talk podcast: Ready or not, here come the Celtics

On this edition of the Sixers Talk podcast, we discuss our concern over Joel Embiid's health, the OKC pick conveying, the first-round matchup vs. the Celtics and much more.

(0:52) — Short night (and negative X-rays) for Joel Embiid.
(9:00) — Thanks to Mike Muscala, the Sixers have a first-round pick.
(13:37) — What will Brett Brown do with the rotation?
(27:26) — Pressure on Brown coaching against Brad Stevens, Celtics.
(39:47) — Confidence in pairing of Shake Milton and Josh Richardson?

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Bench celebrations were a highlight in fourth quarter of Sixers' game vs. Raptors

Bench celebrations were a highlight in fourth quarter of Sixers' game vs. Raptors

The starting lineups of two Eastern Conference playoff teams aren’t usually on the benches in the fourth quarter of a close game.

They were Wednesday night, though, as neither the Sixers nor the Raptors had anything to play for in a game that Toronto won, 125-121. That situation resulted in some exuberant celebrations and a mini-competition of which bench could bring the most energy. There was plenty of enthusiasm on both sides. (The photos below are from USA Today Images.)

Joel Embiid and Al Horford enjoyed Mike Scott’s shooting. 

A late Matisse Thybulle jumper was a big hit, too. 

And there were big smiles and incredulous reactions when rookie Marial Shayok blocked a shot and then chose a layup over a dunk on the ensuing fast break. 

“I don’t minimize that sort of vibe, that action, at all,” Brett Brown said. “There is a true spirit amongst our group. There is a sort of inherent, accumulated, relational side that we’ve all expedited because we’re in the bubble in buses and restaurants and gyms and dormitories together. … I think the guys on the bench, whether it’s bench players or our starters, showing that type of support, that type of attitude, how can that not be a good thing?”

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