The Philadelphia 76ers will be a top destination for NBA free agents this offseason according to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report. The issue is, the Lakers, Cavaliers, Celtics, Knicks, and Warriors are still battling for their positions as well. While the Sixers have been off the grid for a while, all that has changed this season thanks to Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and winning.
These are uncharted waters for the Sixers. Think back to when Allen Iverson was there. Not many players still wanted to come to Philly, but things have changed. It’s just a different atmosphere in the city and around this team.
The 2018 offseason will be focused on the likes of LeBron James, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and DeMarcus Cousins. But for once, the Sixers will not need to search out players, they will come to them. But what makes the Sixers one of the top destinations? For one, they have money to spend, a young roster, a front office looking to win, and a fan base that’s hungry for a championship. Winning combinations all around.
The Sixers will enter the offseason with roughly $25 million in cap space which could balloon to $35 million if they can somehow trade Jerryd Bayless. With that type of money, they could sign LeBron or Paul George or find two or three players to fit the missing pieces they need to make a run for years to come. Not only is the organization looking, but players are as well.
The “Trust The Process” era is officially over as the Sixers are fighting not only for a playoff spot but possibly the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Looking over what they have done with such a young unit has teams like the Lakers, Cavaliers, Raptors, and Rockets more worried about getting the top names in free agency.
The Lakers, who are just as young can sell players on history and the Los Angeles lifestyle while the Sixers can sell them on a youthful team that is winning now, instead of one with hopes of winning in the future. The Lakers are banking on George or James heading there to transform their franchise while the Sixers are already transformed. All they’re missing is a piece to get them over the hump.
Favale would go on to mention that the Sixers have more wins this season against teams with a.500 or better records than the Cavaliers, Pacers, and Bucks. They’re also top-five in terms of defense while also being ranked top-five in net-rating with their starting lineup of Simmons, Embiid, Redick, Covington, and Saric. How can the Lakers, Pacers, and other young teams match that? It may seem small, but those are the stats incoming free agents love to see. A young team that’s winning without them.
And let’s not forget one of the most important things the Sixers have going for them. The team will be armed with not one, but two 2018 first round draft picks which one could be a top-three pick. And while the fuss has been about Simmons and Embiid, the Sixers’ No. 1 pick from the 2017 NBA Draft has missed most of his rookie season due to an injury.
So to recap what the Sixers could offer upcoming free agents is this. A ton of cap space, young talent, an eager fan base, a top defensive team, a cohesive unit, two first-round picks in the 2018 draft, and the return of current No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz. How can James, Cousins, or George turn that down?