Following a season where they finished third in the Eastern Conference and made it to the conference semifinals, the Philadelphia 76ers are entering the 2019 offseason with hopes of bringing back all their starters — All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, as well as forwards Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris and shooting guard J.J. Redick. But with Butler and Harris expected to be among the more sought-after players in this summer’s crop of free agents, the Sixers might consider signing a few players from their top Eastern Conference rivals, as suggested in a new report.
In a report published Monday, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer cited Sixers general manager Elton Brand, who said that some of his team’s players and officials have “tough decisions to make” in the days leading up to the start of free agency on Sunday night. Pompey noted that the Sixers need backups for Embiid and Simmons at the center and point guard positions respectively, but further quoted Brand, who offered a more general answer when asked about Philadelphia’s needs in free agency.
“We definitely need hard-nose [sic] players, shooting,” Brand said. “We want to add shooting. If you watch the playoffs, these are playoff-tested players … I don’t want to say names … but [the Sixers want] veteran-tested players, playoff-tested players that can take us over the edge with our talent.”
Although Brand declined to go into specifics, Pompey wrote that it won’t be surprising if the Sixers target players such as Boston Celtics big man Al Horford, Milwaukee Bucks point guard Malcolm Brogdon, and Toronto Raptors wingman Danny Green — assuming they aren’t able to re-sign their unrestricted free agents. He added that the Sixers have “some level of interest” in the three aforementioned players, all of whom played meaningful minutes for their respective teams in this year’s NBA playoffs.
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As noted, both Harris and Redick will be entering unrestricted free agency on Sunday, with Butler set to join them in the event he declines the player option on his contract. While Harris and Butler have frequently been mentioned in free agency rumors in recent months, that hasn’t been the case for the 35-year-old Redick, who would nonetheless offer valuable three-point shooting and veteran experience to whichever team he signs for this summer.
Commenting on the Sixers’ rumored free agent targets, Sporting News wrote that there may be catches involved for two of these players. Brogdon, a former second-round pick who was named Rookie of the Year for the 2016-17 season, could provide solid shooting and playmaking. but might be a long shot to leave the Bucks due to his incoming status as a restricted free agent. In Horford’s case, the publication cautioned that the 33-year-old forward/center “may be out of the 76ers’ price range,” given the fact that he earned $27.7 million for the Celtics in the 2017-18 season, per Spotrac.