Over the past few weeks, NBA rumors have floated through blogs and radio shows linking the Sixers to Chris Paul and former Sixers guards Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday.
It’s not hard to see what the prevailing skill set is among the three players. Each of them fills a great need for the oversized Sixers. They would instantly become smaller and quicker, and gain a scoring guard who can get their own offense.
While either of them would provide a colossal upgrade in the rotation and fit on the court, the Sixers could equally use the financial flexibility in ridding themselves of Tobias Harris and Al Horford’s contracts to acquire one of the guards.
Harris, who signed a five-year, $180 million deal, and Horford, who signed for four years and $97 million guaranteed, are both suffocatingly weighing the Sixers down just one year after signing them.
I’m not saying anything we don’t know regarding Harris and Horford’s deals. The Sixers' roster construction with these two players compared to the positionless world of the current NBA is one of the biggest blunders in franchise history. Mix in the enormous financial commitment and how the duo doesn't mesh on the court with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and we’re quickly approaching chaos.
The Sixers hit the crippling yet avoidable “double whammy” of signing players to premium deals who don’t make you better and are also strangling your salary cap. In Harris’ case, he represents the rare “triple whammy” of also being a player you traded four draft picks and Landry Shamet for. It’s one thing to sign a player who you thought would fit your team but doesn’t, or to sign a player to a bad contract. The Sixers did both — twice.
With myriad areas to address on various levels of the organization, the front office seems like the Sixers’ initial focus this offseason. I imagine some great candidates to join the team’s brass might sour at the thought of how to optimally rework the roster. Some candidates may even look elsewhere because of it.
Whomever they do hire, a certain amount of time and effort must be spent on explaining why and how the team arrived at this point following the bevy of salary cap flexibility and draft assets the Sixers owned after the 2017-18 season.
That’s when the airing out and much of the truth of, “Why not Jimmy Butler?” and how the team settled on Horford and Harris will be laid bare. Too bad Sixers fans can’t be there to hear it.