Last offseason we saw the 76ers make acquisitions such as Al Horford and Josh Richardson, and also retaining Tobias Harris. This year, the 76ers have limited flexibility. According to Spotrac, the NBA salary cap is estimated to be at around $115M in 20-21, up from $109M. However, there is no telling on how COVID-19 will affect the cap. Either way, the 76ers will not be able to do much. They have the 2nd highest payroll in the league for next season at $147.42M, trailing only Golden State. Let’s take a look at the roster, specifically which contracts are able to be moved or are locks to stay.
76ers GM Elton Brand recently dismissed any trade rumors regarding Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, “Well, I’m looking to complement them better. They’re 24 and 26 years old, respectively. You try to make that fit, as long as you can. They want to be here. They want to be with our organization. And I see them here for a long, long time.” Simmons and Embiid are pretty much the only locks to stay on the roster next season. Embiid is set to make $29,542,010 next season, with 2 years left on his deal after. Simmons is going to make $29,250,000, the first season of his 5 year rookie max extension. This amount would increase if Simmons is named to an All-NBA team for this past season, but not a drastic amount that would change anything for Philly.
It’s fair to say that Al Horford and Tobias Harris have 2 of the worst contracts in the NBA. Although Tobias got paid his market value, in hindsight it was never the right move to trade for him. As for Horford, his massive decrease in production, efficiency, and defensive ability has made his contract look like a joke. Tobias will make $34,358,850, his 2nd of 5 years on his new deal. Horford will go into the 2nd year of his contract, making $27,500,000. It is really hard to see many teams willing to take on either one of these contracts, not only due to performance and lack of cap space, but also due to the eventual consequences of COVID-19. I would definitely be ok with trading Horford, but I’d give Tobias another chance. Josh Richardson may need to be moved to facilitate a trade for either players. He is making $10,865,952 next season, leading up to a player option in 21-22.
The final 6 players on the roster for next season are Mike Scott, Zhaire Smith, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, Shake Milton, and Norvel Pelle. Marial Shayok also is under a 2 way deal. Scott is making around $5M on a one year deal, while Thybulle and Smith are making $2.7M and $3.2M respectively. Milton, Furkan, and Pelle are all making under $2M. These players are the most traceable contracts on the roster, especially Milton, who at 24 years old is making roughly $5.6M over the next 3 seasons with a team option in the final year. It’s very likely that Richardson, Thybulle, or Milton will have to be included in a Horford deal.
Free Agency Outlook
The Sixers have 4 roster spots open this offseason and one two way spot. They also have Kyle O’Quinn, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III, Raul Neto, and Ryan Broekhoff hitting free agency. It’s likely that their first round pick will fill a spot, and one of their 2nd round picks will fill the remaining 2 way slot, with the rest being sold. That leaves 3 roster spots, and the Sixers will only have a $6M exception and minimum contracts. I’d personally like to see Burks back on the exception, and any of GR3, O’Quinn, and Neto back.
The Sixers are in no man’s land in terms of cap space for next season. Barring any trades, they do not have much flexibility with their roster, and it will be extremely hard to create cap space. Elton Brand has his work cut out for him as he’ll need to right the front offices’ wrongs.