The Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly looking to upgrade their point guard situation, and two names that have been continually mentioned as possibilities are Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers.
Philadelphia has been collecting assets the past two years and may be ready to be competitive this season after drafting Jahlil Okafor and trading for Nik Stauskas along with Carl Landry. The Sixers also have several promising youngsters returning like Nerlens Noel, Robert Covington, Jerami Grant, and Tony Wroten –who is coming off a season where he tore his ACL.
Philadelphia is relatively set at power forward, with Noel being the starter and Furkan Aldemir, Carl Landry, 2015 second round selection Richaun Holmes, and veteran Gerald Wallace listed as backups on the depth chart. Wallace, who was obtained in the Jason Thompson trade with Golden State, will likely be waived prior to the season while Fox Sports is reporting that Landry will likely be moved prior to the start of the season.
The Sixers are also set at small forward with Covington, Grant, and Jakarr Sampson. Sampson can also play power forward while Noel and Aldemir have the ability to play center — Okafor is currently the only center on the Sixers roster as Joel Embiid is slated to miss his second consecutive season due to injury.
Stauskas and Hollis Thompson are expected to man the shooting guard position, though a number of other players could also see time at the 2, including training camp invitees JP Tokota and Jordan McRae. Tokota and McRae are second round picks of the Sixers from 2015 and 2014, respectively.
Philadelphia’s biggest concern area of concern is point guard, which is why they are reportedly interested in Cole and Chalmers. Right now, Wroten is slated to start with Isaiah Canaan, Pierre Jackson and Scottie Wilbekin being potential backups. Wroten is more of a scorer than true point guard, as is Canaan, while Jackson and Wilbekin have no NBA experience.
Basketball Insiders is reporting that the Sixers have the second-most cap room available and t heteam is expected to use a good portion of the its $17 million available to try to pry Cole away from the New Orleans Pelicans. The restricted free agent has a $3 million qualifying offer from the Pelicans and is also getting interest from the New York Knicks.
Fox Sports Sam Amico believes Cole will re-sign with New Orleans.
Free agent G Norris Cole drawing interest from Sixers, Knicks. Cole a restricted free agent tho. Pelicans likely to re-sign/match offers.— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) August 4, 2015
If the Sixers were able to get Cole to come to Philadelphia, he would likely challenge Wroten for the starting point guard spot, according to Bleacher Report.
Cole is a high-energy player who has the ability to get into the lane and either finish at the rim or kick to an open teammate. While he is not a great shooter, he can score in bunches if he gets hot. Cole is also a decent passer, rebounder and defender.
Cole averaged 7.6 points, 3.4 assists, and 2.1 rebounds while shooting 41.2 percent from the field along with 31.3% from beyond the arc in 75 appearances for New Orleans and the Miami Heat. Cole did increase his scoring to 9.9 points a contest after being dealt to New Orleans as he shot 44.4 percent from the floor and 37.8 percent from the three-point line.
Another possibility for the Sixers could be Chalmers and, though Philadelphia would prefer Cole, getting Chalmers in a trade from Miami is the most realistic option. The Heat have been shopping Chalmers all offseason in order to cut their luxury tax bill.
Miami has Goran Dragic as its starting point guard and would go with Tyler Johnson and 2015 second round selection Josh Richardson as his backups if the team could find a taker for Chalmers. The Heat have already dealt Shabazz Napier and Zoran Dragic this summer.
Chalmers, 29, is in the final year of his contract and is due $4.3 million this upcoming season. He posted a career-high 10.2 points a game last year and doled out 3.8 assists but struggled with his shoot — making just 40.3% of his field goal attempts and 29.4% of his three-point tries.
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