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2024 NBA free agency: After aggressive start, it feels like Morey is being patient in filling out Sixers roster nba,free,agency,after,aggressive,start,it,feels,like,morey,is,being,patient,in,filling,out,sixers,roster,liberty,ballers,front-page,76ers-free-agency-rumors-news


Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few days, you know the Sixers have been quite busy.

They worked quickly at the start of free agency to secure agreements from big man Andre Drummond and veteran bucket-getter Eric Gordon. They took care of some in-house business by re-signing Kelly Oubre, Jr., who gave the team strong minutes last season, and giving budding superstar Tyrese Maxey a well-deserved max extension. And, of course, they landed the biggest fish on the market agreeing to terms with Paul George on a max deal.

Since we got word that George would be joining Maxey, Joel Embiid and the Sixers, things have gotten quiet.

Almost too quiet.

The Sixers will reportedly lose the services of key role players Nicolas Batum and De’Anthony Melton. They’re also reportedly working on a sign-and-trade that will send Buddy Hield to the Warriors. Beyond that, there haven’t been many rumors about what the Sixers could do next.

That almost feels purposeful for Daryl Morey. After coming out of the gates aggressive, it seems like the long-time executive is waiting out the market, looking for his opportunity to pounce when the time is right.

As of now, the Sixers have eight players who are either signed or have reportedly agreed to terms. Embiid, Maxey, George, Drummond and Gordon will be here. Paul Reed’s deal is not guaranteed and it feels like his time in Philly could be nearing an end, whether it’s a trade or being waived. Ricky Council IV is also on a non-guaranteed deal, but there have been no indications the Sixers will look to move on from the young wing.

The team also has first-round pick Jared McCain and second-round pick Adem Bona, both of whom appear to be penciled in for standard NBA contracts. Factoring them in — and figuring Reed will not be here — it seems like the Sixers have nine players and six spots to fill. As of now, assuming Reed is waived and all the reported deals are accurate, the team will have roughly $8.9 million in cap space to use.

Who they could use that space on is complicated. There have been rumors about a possible trade for Nets forward Dorian Finney-Smith, but that appears unlikely to happen (at least right now). They’ve been connected to two Miami Heat forwards: Caleb Martin and former Sixer Haywood Highsmith. After that, you’re looking at veteran minimum deals to fill out the roster (a Dario Saric reunion, anyone?). There is also a strong likelihood Morey uses a CBA quirk to his advantage to give KJ Martin a balloon deal for the purposes of trading him during the season, as our Bryan Toporek shrewdly pointed out Tuesday morning.

If the Sixers went that route — waive Reed, sign Highsmith/Caleb Martin to a $6-8 million deal for 2024-25, then fill out the roster with minimum players and went ahead with that plan with KJ Martin — that would largely be seen as a great outcome.

But, Reed hasn’t been waived yet. Martin has not signed a balloon deal. There are also scant details about the Hield-to-Warriors sign-and-trade as of this posting.

Insert Brian Windhorst meme

Much has been made of the new CBA and the second apron becoming the new team-building boogeyman. Toporek, again, has been all over that angle for a while now for LB. The consensus seems to be the new rules are mostly hurting the NBA “middle class.” It’s almost like teams valuing threes and dunks — they want stars and cheap role players.

Why is this relevant? Well, perhaps Morey, with a bunch of roster spots to fill, sees the market drying up for these types of players and senses an opportunity to wait things out. Oubre didn’t sign until September last year and took a minimum deal because the market dried up. That seemed to work out quite well for the Sixers. This year, it feels like more players could fall into this category.

The other thought is that there are still major trades that could take place at any time. There’s been plenty of smoke around previously-reported Sixers target Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen. The Sixers are extremely unlikely to trade for either one this summer, but maybe they get in on the fallout of those deals.

Think about this: Jrue Holiday wasn’t traded to the Celtics until Oct. 1 of last year after the Damian Lillard-to-the-Bucks blockbuster. That’s not to say Morey should wait that long or that the player whom he could potentially acquire would be of that caliber. It’s simply to say sometimes a patient approach is the way to go.

Morey came out swinging to get George. Now, he appears to be biding his time to build out the ideal roster around his stars.

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