The 76ers were fairly active this off-season, cutting ties with a couple staples from the past few seasons and picking up some new pieces along the way. While the Sixers roster appears to be pretty much set for the upcoming season, there is still the opportunity to add a free agent to improve overall depth and there are a couple of intriguing names still out there.
It should be stated that any free agent the Sixers would sign would be just for a single season, as the team has clearly set a cap smart pattern of handing out several one-year contracts in order to clear space to land a big prize next summer. It should also be stated that the 7-6 currently have 14 players under contract and a cap number of roughly $57.7 million, so at some point before camp breaks, the Sixers likley will have to make an additional roster move to bring aboard and keep one of the remaining available free agents discussed in this post.
Despite the fact that we are late in to the free agent frenzy period, there are still several free agents available that could help the Sixers in the short term. One of the more notable names being Michael Redd. Redd has fallen a long way since his days as being the big draw for the Bucks, as injuries and age have taken more than a step from the dead-eye, albeit streaky shooter. Redd, once a semi-star, is resigned to the fact that he will be a role player for the rest of his career, and his speciality, shooting, would fill a big need for the 7-6. While the agility and athleticism may be gone, the shot is still there and that’s basically all the Sixers would need out of him. They could certainly use him to stretch the floor, as a defender would have to think twice about leaving him to provide help on a drive from Jrue, Evan, or Dre. He wouldn’t have to log a ton of minutes or cover any difficult defensive match-ups; an ideal situation for a shooter on the back end of his career. Assuming that the team could acquire Redd at a relatively low price (Note: Last season Redd played for the Suns on a 1-year, $1.05million prorated, but guaranteed veteran’s contract.) it is certainly something they should consider.
Redd isn’t the only remaining free agent who could help the Sixers out this season. The team could use some front-court fortification in the form of size and strength to help bolster what is an unproven set of bigs. A couple names stick out in this category on the available FA list. Chris “Birdman” Andersen, Denver’s colorful energy cog, could bring some rebounding and enthusiasm to the Sixers’ second team, while not requiring too much attention offensively or costing much at all. Andersen would be a nice addition as his versatility would allow him to fill in for any of the Sixer bigs without a big production drop on the boards or the defensive end.
Outside of Andersen there are a couple other interior options. Kenyon Martin would be an interesting name to consider. His length, toughness and redounding ability would all benefit the Sixers greatly. However his interest in a reserve role on a team that isn’t considered a legit contender makes his appearance in a Sixers uniform a long shot. The Bobcats’ DJ White would be another big body the team could use to give the starters a blow. In a reserve role (18 mpg. / 11 starts) last year for the simply awful Bobcats, White was good for nearly 7 points and 4 rebounds per night.
There are also a couple of productive reserve guards that could be picked up to relieve Jrue and the other Sixers back-court members. Two names that jump out are Jannero Pargo and Leandro Barbosa. Pargo had a solid season in Atlanta last year — 5.6 ppg. & 1.9 apg. with a PER of 13.69 — and would be a much better back up to Jrue then Royal Ivey. Barbosa (11 ppg. last season) can dabble at the point if needed, but he’s really a shooting guard that more importantly could easily give the Sixers some scoring help from that spots. The questionable signing of Royal Ivey makes the addition of another guard to the roster unlikely, but both Pargo and Barbosa could help the Sixers in 2012-13.
The Sixers management team has made it clear that they are aiming to make a big splash in next summer’s free agency market and are not interested in making any additions right now that would cut into future cap room. Signing any one of the above players could plug a hole on this roster and improve the current squad for the upcoming season while still adhering to their long range strategy. Now it’s up to management (a.k.a. Doug Collins) to make a final move to help this team in 2012-13.