With the NBA’s free agency period beginning July 1, the star-hungry Sixers are expected to chase LeBron James and Paul George. If James and George sign elsewhere though, the Sixers, who will start with around $26 million in cap space, will likely only be in the market for one-year deals, similar to last year, in order to preserve cap space for next summer (see story). With that said, they don't project to be players in the restricted free agency market.
Whether the Sixers sign a star or not they'll still have other needs on the roster, so what other unrestricted free agents could they target? After looking at potential upgrades from Amir Johnson at backup center, power forward options off the bench beyond Ersan Ilyasova and shot creators other than James and George, we wrap up our free agency preview by breaking down the shooters and three-and-D wings.
Shooters, three-and-D wings, other perimeter players
Under contract: Robert Covington, Furkan Korkmaz, Justin Anderson, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Jerryd Bayless, Zhaire Smith (yet to sign a rookie-scale deal), Landry Shamet (yet to sign a rookie-scale deal), Shake Milton (yet to sign a contract)
Pending free agents: JJ Redick, Marco Belinelli
The Sixers currently have just one defined rotation wing for next season under contract in Robert Covington.
Zhaire Smith is a long-term piece, but he's raw offensively and will likely be brought along slowly. Through his first two seasons, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot has been a below-average three-point shooter when given opportunities. While Justin Anderson upped his three-point percentage to a career-best 33 percent, he still has to prove he can be at least average on a high volume of attempts. Furkan Korkmaz has played under 100 NBA minutes. Landry Shamet and Shake Milton shouldn't be expected to contribute right away.
All of these players are under the age of 25 and shouldn't be written off yet, but they have more developing to do before they can be relied on as consistent, rotation players. So not only is this is an area the Sixers have to develop within, but also add to from the outside for next season.
JJ Redick seems like a safe bet to be back, especially if the Sixers don't sign James or George. There's always a chance that another team comes in with a multi-year offer Redick can't refuse, but the most likely scenario feels like Redick being back in Philly on another expensive, one-year deal.
Marco Belinelli, on the other hand, isn't as sure a thing. The 32-year-old played a key role in the Sixers' run to 52 wins as an offensive spark off the bench, shooting a blistering 49.5 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from deep, but he was essentially played off the floor in the Celtics series as he was benched for the second half of Game 5. Boston hunted for Belinelli on offense and relentlessly attacked him throughout that series, posting a 110.6 offensive rating with him on the court. The Sixers could stand to upgrade from Belinelli with a shooter that's at least passable on defense.
Potential free agent targets
In his 14th season, the 6-8 forward averaged 11.7 points in 33.9 minutes per game for Houston and shot 36.8 percent from deep. Ariza is comparable to Covington in that he doesn't offer much offensively other than his spot-up three-point shooting. As Ariza gets set to enter his age 33 season his defense is trending downward, though he's still a versatile contributor. Since they own his Bird rights, it would be surprising if Ariza wasn't back with the Rockets next season considering how limited they are cap flexibility wise.
Of Ellington's 700 field goal attempts last season, over 82 percent of them came from beyond the arc and 66 percent were of the catch-and-shoot variety. He averaged 11.2 points in 26.5 minutes for Miami while shooting 39.2 percent from beyond the arc on a high volume of attempts. Ellington is a tough cover off the ball; he works hard to shake defenders and has crafty ways of doing so, can shoot off movement and just needs a sliver of space to rise up for his high-release jumper. On the other end, the 6-4 guard is a passable defender. Ellington, 30, has played for six different teams in his nine-year career, but his strong last two seasons in Miami have legitimized him as a valuable rotation player.
Caldwell-Pope, 25, started 74 games for the Lakers, averaging 13.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 33.2 minutes. In his fifth season, he hit career-high marks in field goal percentage (42.6) and three-point percentage (38.3). From January on, he shot 44.8 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from deep. He's a good athlete and more of a threat to get a bucket off the dribble than Ariza and Ellington but is best utilized as a catch-and-shooter. At 6-5, Caldwell-Pope is a solid wing defender. KCP signed a one-year, $18 million deal with Los Angeles last season. He might have to wait another year for that first big-money, long-term deal, but he could land another inflated, one-year contract this summer.
Bradley was coming off a career year with the Celtics in 2016-17 when he posted 16.3 points and an impressive 6.1 rebounds on 46.3 percent shooting from the field and 39 percent from deep. But Boston traded him to Detroit in the offseason and he went on to have a season to forget. Injuries have plagued Bradley throughout his eight-year career — even in that strong 2016-17 season he missed 27 games — and they hindered him again last season. He played in 40 of 48 games with the Pistons, as his field goal percentage dipped below 41 percent, before being dealt to the Clippers. The 27-year-old then appeared in six games with Los Angeles before being having season-ending abdominal surgery.
The injury history is a concern, but Bradley is a perfect fit alongside a playmaking guard so he can play more off the ball as a shooter. He's one of the better on-ball guard defenders in the league and can handle both positions in the backcourt.
This is a really intriguing name and not just because of his last name. The brother of a 'Splash Brother,' Curry sat out for Dallas all of last year with a tibia injury that he had season-ending surgery on. But in 2016-17, he averaged 12.8 points and 2.7 assists in 29 minutes per game, while posting an impressive shooting clip of 48.1/42.5/85.0 in 70 games. Believe it or not, he actually shot better from three than his brother, Steph Curry (41.1 percent), that season. Going further, 56.2 percent of Seth Curry's made field goals were unassisted (77.1 percent of his twos and 25.5 percent of his threes). The 6-2 combo guard can create shots for himself out of secondary action, similar to how the Sixers used Redick last season, and he's a better ball handler and finisher around the rim than Redick is. But, like his brother, Curry's weakness is his on-ball defense.
When the 2017-18 season began, Green wasn't on an NBA roster. By season's end, the 32-year old athletic, three-point shooter was a rotation player in the Western Conference Finals. During the regular season with Houston, Green averaged 12.1 points in 22.7 minutes per game and shot 36.9 percent from deep. He played 16 minutes per game off the Rockets' bench during the playoffs, averaging 6.3 points and shooting 37.5 percent from deep. He has the tools to be a good defensive player but is an inconsistent performer on that end.
In 2016-17, Harris showed signs of being a legit NBA player and last season he turned into one. In his fourth season, the 26-year-old averaged 10.8 points in 25.3 minutes per game for the Nets and posted a shooting line of 49.1/41.9/82.7. As a lethal catch-and-shooter, Harris has the ability to attack a closeout and is an efficient finisher around the rim. He has good size as a shooting guard at 6-6 and while he isn't a plus on defense, Harris battles despite his athletic limitations. In addition to Curry, Harris could be an option if Redick doesn't return.
More on the Sixers