With the NBA free agency period beginning on Friday, word is beginning to trickle out among several national reporters on just how Bryan Colangelo and the Sixers are looking to spend their healthy amount of cap space this summer.
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that the Sixers are intending to make a serious push for restricted free agent guard Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors. Barnes averaged 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 38 percent beyond the arc for the Warriors last season.
Barnes’ asking price would likely be for a max contract, which equates to four years, $94 million. The Warriors are said to be making Barnes a “top priority” this summer if they’re unable to lure free agent forward Kevin Durant away from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Other free agents the Sixers have been linked to are guards Allen Crabbe of the Portland Trailblazers, Dion Waiters of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Courtney Lee of the Charlotte Hornets.
Crabbe would fit in nicely with the Sixers’ developing young core at shooting guard. He averaged 10.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists on 39 percent shooting from three-point range. The team has stated their desire to surround No. 1 pick Ben Simmons with shooters and Crabbe fits the bill.
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Philly native and former No. 4 pick Dion Waiters has ultimately been a disappointment in his four-year NBA career up to this point. His averages of 9.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists were all among the lowest of his career with the Thunder last season.
Lee is the veteran of this free agent group of guards and would immediately fill three needs — veteran leadership, shooting and defense. In his eight-year NBA career, Lee has career averages of 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists on 38 percent shooting from the outside. He’s been on six NBA teams (Grizzlies, Rockets, Celtics, Magic, Nets, Hornets) in his career and would bring a veteran perspective to the locker room that the team doesn’t currently have.
Crabbe, Waiters and Lee could all be signed at relatively team-friendly deals compared to Barnes, while giving the Sixers an added dimension to their roster that it doesn’t currently have.
Expect Colangelo to make a push for a few of these guards in the coming days. Shooting guard and point guard are the positions the team will need to address in the offseason.