2024 NBA free agency: Sixers reportedly ‘in discussion’ with free agent forward Haywood Highsmith nba,free,agency,sixers,reportedly,in,discussion,with,free,agent,forward,haywood,highsmith,liberty,ballers,front-page,nba-free-agency,76ers-free-agency-rumors-news

Free agency rumors are beginning to heat back up! This latest report comes from Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who reports that Miami Heat free agent forward Haywood Highsmith is on the Sixers’ radar:

“The Sixers have interest in trading for Brooklyn Nets power forward Dorian Finny-Smith. They’ve also been in discussions with Miami Heat free agent and former Sixer Haywood Highsmith as a free-agent option. Houston Rockets free agent Reggie Bullock could be another option, but maybe for minimum salary.”

Pompey starts off by confirming the Sixers’ interest in Nets Forward Dorian Finny-Smith (first reported by Mike Scotto of HoopsHype). Kelly Iko of the Athletic first reported on Sixers’ interest in Reggie Bullock, but Haywood Highsmith is a new name on the radar.

OG Sixer (and Delaware Blue Coat) fans will remember Highsmith, who had a fascinating journey to get to this point. The Balitmore, Maryland product spent four years playing Division 2 basketball at Wheeling University, later declaring for the NBA Draft, going undrafted and being picked up by the Delaware Blue Coats.

Highsmith eventually played his way into a two-way contract with the Sixers during the 2018-19 season. He was later cut. After spending some more time in the G League, he earned his way onto the Miami Heat roster after several 10-day contracts where he’s been since.

Since his time with the Sixers, Highsmith has developed into a quality 3-and-D player, and has become a regular rotation player for the Heat. This past season, Highsmith averaged career-highs in games played, games started, minutes, field goal percentage, three-point percentage (39.6 percent on 2.9 attempts), assists, steals, blocks and points.

Highsmith’s stats probably don’t scream ‘SIGN HIM’ to most fans, but his advanced analytics do suggest he’s a better player than basic stats can tell. For example:

Highsmith is probably best as a rotation player than a full-time starting four, but on the right contract he makes a lot of sense for what the Sixers need. Speaking of contract, Pompey floated some numbers:

“Highsmith had career earnings of $4.2 million over his three NBA seasons. However, he could demand anywhere from $6 million to $8 million based on his improved play and impact as a role player. The Sixers are scouring for other options, but the 27-year-old Baltimore native could be a fallback option if the Sixers waive Reed.”

This range seems on par for what similar players have fetched in the open market. Numerous reports suggest the Heat are prioritizing re-signing Caleb Martin, which means Highsmith might get priced out as they look to save salary elsewhere.

The Sixers need some defensive-minded forwards around their big three of Tyrese Maxey, Paul George and Joel Embiid. We’ll see if the there’s a path towards the Sixers and Haywood Highsmith reuniting.

Source: Sixers do not extend qualifying offer to guard Terquavion Smith, making him an unrestricted free agent source,sixers,do,not,extend,qualifying,offer,to,guard,terquavion,smith,making,him,an,unrestricted,free,agent,liberty,ballers,front-page,76ers-news

The Sixers will not extend a qualifying offer to Terquavion Smith, a source tells Liberty Ballers. That means the two-way guard becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Signed as an undrafted free agent out of NC State last year, Smith did show flashes with his high-volume shooting and microwave scoring. In 22 games for the Delaware Blue Coats last season, Smith averaged 23.1 points in 31.1 minutes per game while shooting 37.1% from three on a preposterous 10.5 attempts per game.

With the Sixers decimated by injuries, Smith did get a cup of coffee with the big club. Across 16 NBA games, Smith shot 37.1% from deep on 14.9(!) attempts per 36 minutes.

While we did get a few “Terq Time” moments and flashes, there were obvious concerns about Smith’s frame and how he’d hold up getting NBA minutes. Still, this move feels like it’s more about flexibility than any sort of referendum on Smith.

With the Sixers moving quickly to sign UDFA wings Justin Edwards and David Jones to two-way deals, it feels like that third two-way spot will eventually go to second-round pick, Adem Bona. And with first-rounder Jared McCain in the fold as undersized off guard that’s a high-volume three-point shooter, Smith might be redundant.

It was reported by The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey Saturday that the team will also decline point guard Jeff Dowtin, Jr.’s team option, making him an unrestricted free agent as well. Dowtin was a solid depth ball handler last season. We can’t rule out a possible return, but Daryl Morey is clearly choosing to keep all options open amid the team’s pursuit of Paul George.

NBA free agency kicks off at 6 p.m. Sunday when teams are allowed to contact free agents.

Six under-the-radar free-agent targets for the Sixers in 2024 six,under,the,radar,free,agent,targets,for,the,sixers,in,liberty,ballers,front-page,nba-free-agency,76ers-analysis,76ers-free-agency-rumors-news

Now that the 2024 NBA draft is over, the Sixers have to quickly turn their attention to free agency. Teams have been free to negotiate with their own free agents for more than a week, but they (legally) can begin to reach out to free agents from other teams at 6 p.m. ET on June 30.

The Sixers’ top options are already flying off the board, though. On Wednesday, OG Anunoby agreed to a five-year, $212.5 million contract to stay with the New York Knicks. Malik Monk and Pascal Siakam have likewise agreed to re-sign with the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers, respectively. And LeBron James is presumably staying with the Los Angeles Lakers after they spent the No. 55 pick on his eldest son, Bronny.

Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George was reportedly the Sixers’ Plan A this offseason, but even that might be on life support. Earlier this week on the Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst shared that George doesn’t seem keen on leaving the West Coast.

The Sixers reportedly plan to pursue Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in free agency, and they could always use their cap space to absorb contracts via trade, too.

Regardless of which big fish (if any) they land, they might need to round out their roster with a few value signings, too. Here, we’ve assembled six potential candidates to consider.

Naji Marshall, SF

Naji Marshall might not be a starting-caliber wing, but he’d be a valuable addition to the Sixers’ rotation nonetheless.

Marshall has spent his entire four-year NBA career with the New Orleans Pelicans, over which time he’s averaged 7.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in only 19.5 minutes per game. He also knocked down a career-high 38.7 percent of his three-point attempts this past season (albeit on low volume) and ranked in the 91st percentile leaguewide in Dunks and Threes’ defensive estimated plus/minus.

Standing 6’7” with a nearly 7’1” wingspan, Marshall has the frame to soak up minutes on the wing. He might not be much more than a three-and-D option, but that’s the exact archetype that team president Daryl Morey is aiming to add alongside Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.

In April, Will Guillory of The Athletic told HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto that the Pelicans were “pretty much sold” that Marshall would leave in free agency “because they’ve got all these other financial situations going on.” It’s unclear whether the $8.0 million room mid-level exception would be enough to snag him or if the Sixers would need to offer him a double-digit annual salary to pry him away from other suitors, though.

Caleb Martin, SF

If (when) Caleb Martin declines his $7.1 million player option, he’ll be one of the better wings on the free-agent market. He averaged a career-high 10.0 points per game to go with 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 three-pointers, 0.7 steals and 0.5 blocks in only 27.4 minutes per game this past season despite starting in only 23 of his 64 regular-season appearances with the Miami Heat.

Martin has also been a plus defender in recent years, which adds to his three-and-D appeal. He’s been a relatively low-volume shooter throughout his five-year NBA career, but he’s shot 35.7 percent from long range.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks told Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald that he projected Martin to receive the full $12.9 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception this summer. The Sixers won’t have access to the NTMLE if they dip below the cap—they’ll only have the $8.0 million room mid-level exception instead—so they’d likely have to sign Martin with a portion of their cap space.

There’s always a concern about Heat players falling apart once they leave Miami, but Max Strus hopefully dispelled that notion after joining the Cleveland Cavaliers last offseason. Besides, that’s what the Sixers have Nick Nurse for.

Mario Hezonja, SF

In mid-June, longtime NBA insider Marc Stein reported that Mario Hezonja was “increasingly coming up as a free agent to watch this offseason when it comes to an NBA return.” Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Hezonja has an NBA out clause in his contract until July 19 and “is receiving interest from multiple teams to return to the NBA.”

The Orlando Magic originally selected Hezonja with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 draft, but he never lived up to his draft stock. Shooting was supposed to be a strength of his, but he shot only 31.9 percent on 2.5 three-point attempts per game across his five-year NBA career.

Hezonja hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2019-20 season, but he might have earned himself another look after his past two seasons with Real Madrid. This past season, he averaged 11.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.8 threes in only 22.3 minutes per game across 81 appearances. He also shot 39.0 percent from deep overall and 43.1 percent on 5.1 attempts three-point attempts per game in 38 Euroleague games.

The 29-year-old Hezonja might be mostly a shooting specialist in the NBA—he doesn’t offer much as a playmaker or on defense—but he could be a slightly younger alternative to someone such as Doug McDermott. Given Morey’s fixation on adding shooting, Hezonja should at least merit consideration as the Sixers probe the fringes of the free-agent market.

Gary Trent Jr., SG

If the Sixers land Caldwell-Pope or Klay Thompson in free agency, they presumably won’t splurge on another shooting guard as well. But if they strike out on both, Gary Trent Jr. will be among the better remaining options. (Granted, the Sixers might have two even better alternatives on their own roster in De’Anthony Melton and Buddy Hield.)

Trent had the best years of his career in his two full seasons with Nurse on the Toronto Raptors. He averaged 17.9 points, 2.8 three-pointers and 1.7 steals per game across those two years, although he went from starting all but one game in 2021-22 to coming off the bench 22 times in 2022-23.

However, it’s unclear whether Trent would want to reunite with Nurse. According to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, Trent said after last season “that he got used to the coach’s criticism coming out in the media before Nurse told him in person,” which hardly sounds like an enjoyable workplace experience.

After picking up Bruce Brown’s $23 million team option on Friday, the Raptors may have bigger changes afoot. That could make Trent expendable, which should at least put him on the Sixers’ radar as a backup option if their top shooting guard targets fall through.

Patrick Williams, PF

Full disclosure: There’s a chance that Patrick Williams is just Tobias Harris 2.0. On the bright side, he shouldn’t cost anywhere close to a max contract.

Like Harris, Williams is a frustratingly low-volume three-point shooter despite being an above-average marksman. He has drilled 40.9 percent of his 3.4 long-range attempts per game over the past two seasons, which begs the question of why he isn’t firing away far more often.

The good news is that Williams has been a plus defender in each of the past two seasons. At 6’7” and 215 pounds with a nearly 7-foot wingspan, he has the exact type of physical toolkit that Nurse has maximized on both ends of the floor in the past.

According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, the Bulls offered Williams an extension in the neighborhood of four years for $64 million with a team option,” while he reportedly wanted “in the vicinity of De’Andre Hunter’s four-year, $90 million deal with Atlanta.” However, Johnson added that Williams “might’ve come down to $20 million annually.”

If the Sixers strike out on their top wing options (Paul George, Brandon Ingram, etc.), it might not hurt to throw an offer sheet at Williams and dare the Bulls to match.

Jonas Valanciunas, C

The Sixers’ never-ending search for a reliable backup to Joel Embiid might continue anew this offseason if they waive Paul Reed before his $7.7 million salary becomes guaranteed in January. Andre Drummond will be a popular free-agent target—and we’ll address him quickly later—but Jonas Valanciunas should be on the Sixers’ radar as well.

Multiple reporters have suggested that Valanciunas is unlikely to re-sign with the New Orleans Pelicans, particularly after they began trimming his role this past season. He averaged only 23.5 minutes per game—his fewest since the 2018-19 campaign—as head coach Willie Green would often downsize with Larry Nance Jr. in his place.

Valanciunas is more of an old-school big man than a modern-day, switchable center, although he can knock down an occasional three-pointer. Still, his value to the Sixers would be primarily as a backup, although he could be a viable starting fill-in whenever Embiid missed time.

Valanciunas might not be ready to be demoted to a full-time backup yet, although it’s hard to see a starting opportunity available to him this summer. Given the likelihood of Embiid missing time next season, the Sixers might be his best option to both fill a consistent role off the bench and still prove himself as a starter at times.

Minimum-contract targets

Andre Drummond, C: Drummond was a fan favorite two years ago, and he remains one of the most prolific rebounders in the NBA. He might not be a heavy-minute player in the playoffs, but the Sixers wouldn’t need him to be as long as Embiid stays healthy.

Dennis Smith Jr., PG: After the Dallas Mavericks took him with the No. 9 pick in the 2017 draft, Smith has reinvented himself as defensive specialist. However, he’s a career 29.8 percent shooter from deep, which could make him a liability in the playoffs.

Kris Dunn, PG: Like Smith, Dunn is a former lottery pick—No. 5 in 2016—who found his niche as a defensive stopper. He’s also a mediocre, low-volume three-point shooter, but he could be someone to pair with rookie guard Jared McCain in the reserve unit.

Lonnie Walker IV, SG: Finally, a shooter! Walker signed a minimum contract with the Brooklyn Nets last offseason and drilled 38.4 percent of his 4.7 three-point attempts per game. Walker won’t provide much defensively, but he could be a far cheaper alternative to Hield.

Malik Beasley, SG: Beasley would fill the same niche as Walker as a one-dimensional shooter off the bench. He signed a one-year, minimum deal with the Milwaukee Bucks last summer and knocked down a career-high 41.3 percent of his 6.9 three-point attempts per game, although he seemed to fall out of favor with head coach Doc Rivers late in the year.

Torrey Craig, SF: A quintessential three-and-D guy. Craig has shot 39.4 percent from deep on 3.1 attempts per game over the past two seasons combined. He signed a minimum-salary deal with the Bulls last summer, so the Sixers would likely prefer to land him at somewhere in that price range.

Gary Harris, SG: Harris has played 65-plus games only once in the past eight seasons, so the Sixers might not want to pin their hopes on another oft-injured player given Embiid’s injury history. However, Harris is a career 37.0 percent three-point shooter and a plus defender, which would make him an easy fit off the bench.

Eric Gordon, SG: Gordon turned down his $3.4 million player option Thursday, per Charania, and reportedly has interest from “multiple contenders.” Given his shooting prowess and the years he spent with Morey in Houston, it’s likely safe to assume the Sixers are one of those suitors.

Gordon Hayward, SF: Maybe he isn’t as washed as he looked in OKC last year? It could at least be worth a training camp deal to find out.

Unless otherwise noted, all stats via NBA.com, PBPStats, Cleaning the Glass or Basketball Reference. All salary information via Spotrac and salary-cap information via RealGM.

Joel Embiid seemingly recruits potential soon-to-be free agent Paul George on live TV at the NBA Finals joel,embiid,seemingly,recruits,potential,soon,to,be,free,agent,paul,george,on,live,tv,at,the,nba,finals,liberty,ballers,front-page,76ers-free-agency-rumors-news

The Celtics are about to win the NBA Finals. Who cares?

The most important thing to happen ahead of Game 4 was Joel Embiid popping on NBA Countdown on ESPN — seated next to potential free-agent-to-be Paul George.

Social media was abuzz as soon as that picture went live. George, a nine-time All-Star, has a player option with the Clippers for the 2024-25 season. If he declines that option, he’ll hit free agency. If that happens, the Sixers are expected to be the top team after his services.

When Embiid spoke, he made sure to let everyone know how he felt about the basketball team from Boston:

Embiid has been steadfast over the years in saying that he doesn’t want to meddle with what the team’s front office is doing. But when the opportunity presented itself, he seemingly made a not-so-subtle pitch to George on live television. Below is a zoomed in look at the video above.

Embiid is a former MVP. One of the best players on the planet. Even at his size, there are few things he can’t do on a basketball court.

But subtlety has never been his strength.

For many Sixers fans, this is likely a welcomed sight (depending on how you feel about the team signing George). Embiid basically saying on ESPN, “Hey, Daryl, this is the player we should get!” is quite the departure from his previous offseason approaches.

For what it’s worth, George has admired Embiid from afar and the two have developed a relationship. Just this past season, George gushed about Embiid on his podcast, calling the big man this generation’s version of Shaquille O’Neal.

The funny thing is you would think Tyrese Maxey, who grew up in Garland, Texas, would be there in Dallas to join the recruitment wagon. Alas, Maxey appears to be in Paris for an event with New Balance. Perhaps Maxey joined Embiid and George for a late-night FaceTime call.

While we shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves, Embiid being in Dallas at the NBA Finals while George is also there feels mighty purposeful.

Sixers’ Kelly Oubre Jr. acquires new agent with CAA Basketball sixers,kelly,oubre,jr,acquires,new,agent,with,caa,basketball,liberty,ballers,front-page,nba-news-basketball,76ers-news

There’s a host of possible outcomes for the Sixers in free agency this summer. They have the flexibility to create $60+ million in cap space to go spending and star hunting, plus a bunch of players on expiring contracts ready to hit free agency.

This includes Kelly Oubre Jr., fresh off a strong year where he more than proved his value. Now, he seems to be getting ready to make the most of his chance to land a big raise by acquiring new representation: he’s officially joined CAA Basketball.

Oubre’s agent was Torrel Harris for a few years, but Oubre parted ways with him before joining the Sixers and representing himself for a while.

Oubre’s entering free agency at just the right time after the quality season he turned in. With his on-ball scoring and driving ability, off-ball cutting, some improved passing, athleticism, and defensive ability against guards and forwards (which lapsed at times but was rock solid at others, especially later in the season), he showed he can be a genuinely good player after he went unsigned for so long in free agency just one year ago. He had plenty of games where he was one of the Sixers’ best three or four players on the floor. Getting that kind of production from a player on a minimum deal was incredible value.

There’s no doubt the Sixers should look into bringing Oubre back if they can. But as one of the better wings on the free agent market this summer, he may well have played his way out of the Sixers’ budget and will look to cash in elsewhere.

We’ll see soon enough if a K9 return is possible.