The Philadelphia 76ers are down to 19 players on their training camp roster following the purging off two big men on August 31. That begs the question, will the Sixers sign someone else before players officially report to the team at the end of September?
Earlier today, Shams Charania of The Vertical reported that the 76ers have waived veteran big men Tibor Pleiss and Carl Landry in order to create some roster spots for training camp. Both players will become free agents when they clear waivers.
It was reported when Philadelphia acquired Pleiss, on August 26 from the Utah Jazz in exchange for guard Kendall Marshall, the Sixers didn’t plan on hanging on to him. The seven-foot-three mammoth center struggled to get onto the court in his first season in the NBA. He averaged 2.0 points and 1.3 rebounds while shooting 44.0 percent from the field in 12 games last season. The 26-year-old was selected with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2010 draft by the New Jersey Nets.
Landry played well in his only season in Philadelphia despite seeing limited action. The 32-year-old averaged 9.8 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor and 46.2 percent from beyond the arc in 36 games – including 12 starts. The nine-year vet has played in 513 career games, posting 11 points and five rebounds a contest.
By waiving both players today, the 76ers have the option of the using the stretch provision on the players – which would allow them to spread out the cap hit over three years. However, as Luke Adams of Hooprumors pointed out it is unlikely the Sixers will do so as they are currently well below the league’s salary cap. Landry is due $6.5 million this year while Pleiss is owed $3 million as both players’ contracts were fully guaranteed for the upcoming season.
There are a couple of reasons Philadelphia dropped both Landry and Pleiss prior to training camp, which are the 76ers have a plethora of bigs on their roster and they needed roster room to officially sign rookie free agent Anthony “Cat” Barber.
With the signing of Barber, the Sixers have room to add just one more player as NBA teams are permitted to carry 20 players on their rosters. Seven of the 19 players on the roster have non-guaranteed deals, including Barber – who just signed today. Charania tweeted that Barber’s pact is partially guaranteed.
Barber went undrafted in 2016 after leaving North Carolina State, following his junior campaign. The six-foot-two point guard possesses a lightning first step with the ability to blow by defenders. He finishes well at the rim and has great hands defensively. Barber has a scorer’s mentality but is also an excellent ball-handler and passer.
Barber is not an elite athlete and still needs to add body strength. While he improved tremendously in each of his three seasons at N.C. State, he still has a tendency to take bad shots. He is also not a great one-on-one defender.
Last year, Barber led the ACC in scoring with 23.5 points a game. He also added 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 36.1 percent on his three-point attempts. In addition, Barber got to the free throw line 8.3 times a game – making 86.5 percent of those charity stripe attempts.
Barber will likely battle T.J. MConnell, Brandon Paul, James Webb, Hollis Thompson, Robert Covington, Jerami Grant, Richaun Holmes, and Shawn Long for the team’s final roster spots. Grant and Covington are both likely safe though they each have non-guaranteed pacts. Thompson is also likely safe with the Sixers exercising his option earlier this summer. McConnell and Holmes probably have an edge over the others for the final two roster spots, but nothing is guaranteed.
Here is a look at the 76ers’ depth chart
Point Guard: Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriguez, McConnell, and Barber
Bayless is the starter while Rodriguez will see plenty time as his understudy. It should be ab interesting training camp battle between McConnell and Barber for the last point guard spot.
Shooting guard: Covington, Nick Stauskas, Gerald Henderson, Thompson, Timothe Luwawa, and Paul
Henderson will get a lot of time, probably off the bench. Other than that who knows, except that Luwawa is guaranteed a spot since he was a first-round selection in this year’s draft.
Small forward: Ben Simmons, Grant, Holmes, Webb and any number of the shooting guards.
Simmons will have plenty of time to learn the NBA and develop his skills. Grant is a quality sixth man.
Power forward: Jahlil Okafor, Dario Saric, Holmes, Grant and Long
The big questions here are in regard to Okafor getting traded and Saric’s development?
Center: Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, Okafor
Embiid has declared himself 100 percent healthy. We’ll see.
[Photo by Alex Brandon/AP Images]