NBA Free Agency: Recapping Busy Opening Day of 76ers-Related Moves

NBA Free Agency: Recapping Busy Opening Day of 76ers-Related Moves Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers were busy in the opening 24 hours of free agency. Paul George, the top free agent on the market, signed a four-year, $212 million contract with the Sixers. Andre Drummond re-united with the Sixers, signing a two-year contract worth upwards of $10 million. Kelly Oubre Jr. signed a two-year, $16.3 million contract to remain in Philadelphia. The Sixers also signed veteran guard Eric Gordon to the veteran minimum. In the cherry on top of the cake, Tyrese Maxey agreed in principle to a five-year, $204 million contract extension with the Sixers.

While the Sixers made multiple key additions to the roster, they also lost multiple of their own free agents. In addition, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has more work to do on his way to filling out the remainder of the Sixers’ roster. The following is a recap of where things stand with the Sixers’ free agents and any other outstanding rumors.

Tobias Harris

Harris signed a two-year, $52 million contract with the Detroit Pistons, as first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. His time in Philadelphia is now officially over. Harris originally signed a five-year, $180 million deal with the Sixers back in the 2019 offseason. While his numbers were not bad on paper, he was much maligned over the last few seasons for his inconsistent play and lack of aggressiveness with the basketball. Over 378 games in a Sixers uniform, Harris averaged 17.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting 36.9% from 3-point range.

Nic Batum

After an earlier report indicated Batum was not returning to Philadelphia, that fact has now been confirmed. Batum is signing a two-year, $9.6 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. The French native was a solid role player in his lone season with the Sixers, averaging 5.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

The Sixers were interested in re-signing Batum, but they lost out on retaining the 35-year-old forward. According to ClutchPoints’ Tomer Azarly, Batum having family in the Los Angeles area was a key reason why he signed with the Clippers:

“Batum, however, still has his family based out of Los Angeles and calls it home. Additionally, Batum’s familiarity with the Clippers organization and close relationship with head coach Tyronn Lue as well as some of the front office staff members played a part in his desire to return to Los Angeles.”

Batum will always be remembered in Philadelphia for his 20-point performance in the play-in tournament against the Miami Heat.

De’Anthony Melton

The Sixers reportedly lost one of their better two-way players over the last couple of seasons. Melton is signing a one-year, $12.8 million contract with the Golden State Warriors, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. His Sixers tenure was derailed last season due to a nagging back injury that limited him to just 38 games. When healthy, he averaged 11.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game last season. Melton was due for a larger payday this offseason, but injury concerns limited his overall market. While bringing Melton back would have been a solid move for the Sixers, they did not have the salary cap space available to match Golden State’s offer.

Mo Bamba

The Sixers also are losing one of their backup centers from last season. Bamba is signing a one-year contract with the Clippers. The 26-year old failed to establish a consistent role in Philadelphia. He averaged 4.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game through 57 contests last season. Once the Sixers signed Drummond and drafted Adem Bona, Bamba’s chances of returning to the Sixers essentially were eliminated.

Other News and Notes:

  • Of the Sixers’ remaining free agents, Kyle Lowry has received the most interest from teams around the league. Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports on Monday reported the Phoenix Suns are interested in pursuing Lowry. The 38-year old averaged 8.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game in 23 contests with the Sixers after being signed on the buyout market last season. Bringing the veteran point guard back should be a priority for the Sixers. They will have to beat out the Suns, and potentially any other suitors, in negotiations for Lowry. Perhaps continuing to play in Philadelphia, his hometown, will prove crucial to the Sixers’ retaining Lowry’s services.
  • The Sixers, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, have met with free agent forward Reggie Bullock. The 12-year veteran struggled to find consistent playing time on the Houston Rockets last season. He appeared in just 44 games, averaging 9.5 minutes, 2.2 points and 1.7 rebounds per contest. However, he might still have something left in the tank. From 2020-2023, Bullock averaged 8.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. During that time period, he also shot 38.3% from 3-point range on 5.6 attempts per game. If the Sixers sign Bullock, it will most likely be for the veteran minimum.
  • There was a lot of noise among the Sixers fanbase this offseason about a potential trade for Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen. He would be a perfect fit in Philadelphia, but the Sixers went in another direction when they signed George. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported the Sixers “never appeared to place real attention” on the prospect of trading for Markkanen this offseason.
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