NBA free agency begins; will Sixers be shoppers?

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76ers general manager Sam Hinkie. (Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports file photo)

The 76ers aren't exactly a desired free-agent destination, but that won't prevent the team from trying to add to its roster.

The free-agency period began Wednesday, and the Sixers have about $30 million available to spend on additions.

"I do think we will be out there," Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie said last week. "We will have a say."

But Hinkie said the Sixers have to be reasonable about the kind of players they want to pursue. "We want players who will fit with our group over a long period of time," he said. "If we are going to make some big investment with any free agent, it needs to be someone who might fit."

LeBron James is the headliner of this summer's free-agent class. However, the four-time league MVP is expected to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Among the other top free agents are Kawhi Leonard, Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Draymond Green, Jimmy Butler, Tim Duncan, Kevin Love, Brandon Knight, and Goran Dragic.

ESPN reported that Butler, an all-star shooting guard, was offered a five-year, $90 million-plus deal to remain with the Chicago Bulls on Monday. According to the report, the restricted free agent postponed scheduled meetings with the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, and Sixers.

"I guess if we come to the conclusion that that's a player that might really help us, other teams might, too," Hinkie said. "There's often competition in these sorts of things and the players have to make their own decision."

The Sixers have three of the league's top young post players in Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor. But as the third overall pick in last week's NBA draft, Okafor has yet to play and is unproven. There's uncertainty about when or if Embiid will play. He missed what would have been his rookie campaign to rehabilitate his right foot after surgery in June 2014. Embiid had a setback in the healing process last month.

Noel garnered all-rookie honors this season, but it is too soon to tell whether he can be a franchise player.

It's hard to lure top-notch free agents to a team that lost 127 games over the last two seasons. The Sixers may have to overpay second- and third-tier free agents to lure them to Philadelphia.

The franchise's biggest need is on the perimeter, with Noel, Embiid, Okafor, Jerami Grant, power forward Furkan Aldemir, and second-round pick Richaun Holmes in the frontcourt.

"I think we will be open-minded there," Hinkie said, "whether that comes with a point guard, which would help us, whether that comes with a [shooting guard], which would help us; whether that comes with a [small forward], which could help us."

The additions of Holmes and Okafor may have made post players Henry Sims and Thomas Robinson expendable.

The Sixers declined to give Sims and swingman Glenn Robinson III qualifying offers Tuesday night, making them unrestricted free agents. Thomas Robinson is also an unrestricted free agent.

The Brooklyn Nets are reportedly targeting Thomas Robinson. The Nets tried to sign him to a 10-day contract after he was waived by the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 22. However, the Sixers claimed him off waivers.

Others Sixers, who became unrestricted free agents are: Luc Mbah a Moute, Jason Richardson and Ish Smith.

Summer league

Okafor and undrafted rookie free agent T.J. McConnell are the only players scheduled to represent the Sixers in both the Utah Jazz and NBA summer leagues. The Utah league starts Monday.

Holmes and second-round pick J.P. Tokoto will join Aldemir and Grant on the team in Utah.

JaKarr Sampson, Pierre Jackson, former La Salle standout Steve Zack, Arsalan Kazemi, and Jordan McRae will join the squad in the in the NBA league in Las Vegas from July 10-20.


76ers Summer League Rosters

Utah Jazz Summer League, July 6-9 in Salt Lake City

No.   Player   Pos.   Ht.   Last team   

8   Jahlil Okafor   C   6-11   Duke

11   J.P. Tokoto   G-F   6-6   North Carolina

17   T.J. McConnell   G   6-3   Arizona

18   Deonte Burton   G   6-1   ratiopharm Ulm

            (Germany)

19   Furkan Aldemir   F-C   6-10   Sixers

22   Richaun Holmes   F   6-8   Bowling Green

25   Derrick Marks   G   6-3   Boise State

30   Corey Hawkins   G   6-3   UC Davis

39   Jerami Grant   F   6-8   Sixers

40   Chavaughn Lewis   G   6-5   Marist

42   Sam Thompson   F   6-7   Ohio State

53   Jordan Railey   C   7-0   Wash. State

Samsung Summer League, July 11-14 in Las Vegas

7   David Laury   F   6-9   Iona

8   Jahlil Okafor   C   6-11   Duke

9   JaKarr Sampson   G-F   6-9   Sixers

14   Arsalan Kazemi   F   6-7   Chongqing Fly                   Dragon (China)

17   T.J. McConnell   G   6-3   Arizona

27   Askia Booker   G   6-2   Colorado

43   K.T. Harrell   G   6-4   Auburn

45   Jamal Jones   F   6-8   D-League

50   Vince Hunter   F   6-8   UTEP

51   Charles Jackson   C   6-10   Tennessee Tech

52   Jordan McRae   G-F   6-6   D-League

54   Steve Zack   C   6-11   La Salle

55   Pierre Jackson   G   5-10   Fenerbahçe                   Ülker (Turkey)


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@PompeyOnSixers

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