The Sixers finally know what the future holds. Well, partially at least.
After completing a trade for the No. 1 overall pick — which will be Markelle Fultz — the team now has a core of young players it hopes will be the bedrock of an eventual title contender. Fultz will join Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Ben Simmons as pieces in the Wells Fargo Center for perhaps the next decade.
But there are still big holes to fill and nearly $24 million in salary cap space to explore. Does the eventual acquisiton of Fultz mean the team will become aggressive free agent suitors?
“It’s certainly something that I think affects our situation,” Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo said Monday. “We feel like we have a core of young players in place that will become stronger once the decision is made on Thursday night when the draft selection is made. One thing we are going to continue to address, and we did it last year, is bringing in some veteran presence.”
The Sixers signed Jerryd Bayless (who missed almost the entire year due to injury), Gerald Henderson and Sergio Rodriguez as those veteran players last season. The contributions came in the locker room more than on the floor, but Colangelo seemed to imply that they would take a similar approach ahead of the 2017-18 season.
A few small pieces with team-friendly deals would make sense this season, as the core develops and attempts to stay healthy and compete for perhaps a seven or eight seed in the playoffs. Then the monster free agent class of 2018 will change things.
“Ideally we would like to not only have max flexibility this year but max flexibility next year when this group has the chance to grow together more and we are perhaps more ready to add high-level free agents,” Colangelo said. “That’s not to say we won’t explore the markeplace this year, but it feels like this core we are assembling has the ability to grow together.”