The Philadelphia 76ers currently have 16 players under contract, with 12 of those being fully guaranteed, and are reportedly interested in adding more pieces prior to training camp, which begins in five weeks.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie said that the team is still “heavily engaged” in trade discussions, as well as conversations with free agents.
“I know the big names all disappear in the first two or three days. But NBA trades and free agency those are the kind of things that happen every day in the offseason. And we are still active there.”
There is speculation that one position the 76ers need to upgrade is at point guard where Tony Wroten, Isaiah Canaan, Pierre Jackson, and Scottie Wilbekin currently reside. Wroten is slated to be the starter, as long as he is healthy. Canaan, Jackson, and Wilbekin will likely battle for the backup and third point guard slot. Jackson’s $750,000 contract this season is fully guaranteed, while Wilbekin’s $525, 093 salary is just partially guaranteed.
However, Hinkie wouldn’t go on record on what the Sixers planned to do.
“I’m not the one to tell you want we are trying to accomplish during a trade… I’m sorry. We got lots of goals in trade. We got lots of goals in trade and lot of goals in free agency. Some of our partners not knowing exactly what those are sure helps.”
The problem with this rotation of point guards is that none of those four have a lot of NBA experience, and only Wilbekin is a true point guard. Wroten, who is still recovering from the torn ACL he suffered, was limited to just 30 games a season ago and is better suited to play shooting guard. Wroten, to his credit, became a better distributor last year, but turns the ball over too much — he averaged 16.9 points, 5.2 assists and 3.8 turnovers last year.
Canaan did a decent job at point after being acquired from Houston for Alexy Shved, though he is more of a scorer than distributed. Canaan averaged 12.6 points, 3.1 assists and 1.8 turnovers in 22 games. The biggest problems with the 24-year-old’s game is that he is only a career 38.1 percent shooter, is very suspect on defense, and his 22.7 assist rate is very low.
The Bleacher Report is reporting that big things are expected from Jackson. Jackson missed all of last season after tearing his right Achilles tendon in his first summer league game in 2014. He has since fully recovered and averaged 10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in four appearances with this year’s Sixers’ Las Vegas summer league squad.
There are still concerns with Jackson as he showed considerable rust during the summer league, shooting 31.8 percent from the field and 35.3 percent (6-of-17) from beyond the arc. He turned the ball over 2.75 times a game, including six times against the Houston Rockets on July 17, this summer. Also, there are questions about his durability and if he will be exposed on the defensive end due to his smallish stature — Jackson stands at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds.
Wilbekin had a tremendous summer league campaign with the Sixers. The 6-foot-2 point guard averaged 14.4 points, along with 2.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds in five summer league contests. Wilbekin, who knocked down 44.1 percent of his three-point shots during summer league action, reached double-figures in three of the five games — Wilbekin’s best game came against the New York Knicks as he finished with 26 points on 7-of-12 shooting and 6-of-8 from the three-point line.
Wilbekin spent the 2014-15 season in Austrailia before moving on to AEK of the Greek Basketball League. He appeared in 32 games for Cairns Taipans (NBL), where he averaged 15 points, four assists, four rebounds, and one steal per game. He was selected as the club’s MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. Wilbekin then averaged eights points and four assists in nine games with AEK Athens.
As previously reported by Inquisitr, the Sixers have had interest in New Orleans Pelicans restricted free agent point guard Norris Cole and Miami Heat’s point guard Mario Chalmers. Markieff Morris (a Philadelphia native), Evan Turner, and Jared Sullinger are also reportedly being shopped.
The Sixers also have been thought to be interested in bringing in T.J. McConnell and Jordan McRae, along with J.P. Tokoto, to training camp.
Philadelphia could also add more depth at center with rookie Jahlil Okafor being the only one listed on the depth chart, with Joel Embiid being shelved with an injury for a second consecutive year. Nerlens Noel, Furkan Aldemir, and Carl Landry can also play center.
The Sixers are $13.5 million below the salary cap, and have a ton of picks over the next two years.
[Photo via Philadelphia Inquirer]