This NBA free agency class is one of the most star studded, and most anticipated free agencies in a long time. Some of the names include LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and a lot of buzz over a trade for Kevin Love. The next tier of free agents includes Chandler Parsons, Lance Stephenson, Paul Pierce, and Gordon Hayward. Then there is another tier of free agents that includes Pau Gasol, Boris Diaw, and Steve Blake. Plus, a lot more solid, role players that are just looking for some good money, or perhaps a team where they can show what they can really do.
Of those top three tiers of players, the 76ers will not even come close to touching them. There can be those false reports, and 10 reasons why Philadelphia would be a perfect fit for LeBron James. But it will never happen. So, all of that false hope and unwarranted excitement should be put somewhere, locked up, and not touched, or thought about for as long as you possibly can.
If the 76ers are not going to touch the top three tiers of players in one of the best free agency classes of recent time, then who are they going to target? Philly has the second most cap space of any NBA team and Thad Young could be a relevant trade chip. Philly had a successful draft for the future last week, but they still need to put players on the floor who can perform right NOW.
There are a lot of options that the 76ers could try to bring to Philadelphia. But even with someone who is not a star, why would they want to come to Philadelphia, knowing it could be another long season? In other words, what should Sam Hinkie’s pitch be to the free agents that he wants to target?
First off, he should offer them a decent amount of money, because they do have it. For sure, no one will come to Philadelphia if they think they are being short-changed. So that is the first step, the second step is to explain to them that their role could change here in Philadelphia. That their whole career they have been coming off the bench, averaging single digit points, being a solid role player. But because the 76ers lack a star, and lack scorers. These role players can become All-Sttars, just solely on the fact that there is not that one player harboring all the scoring. That is something that a lot of players would love to become: an All-Star. Now, that won’t be appealing to everyone, because some players prefer to be out of the spotlight, and not carry the team on their back. They enjoy being the sixth or seventh player off the bench, making a key bucket here and there.
Now, who would be a good fit for the 76ers right now? For one, it definitely has to be a shooter. This is something that they are lacking. Especially now since they let go of one of their better three-point shooters from last season, James Anderson. If you look at the projected opening day roster for the Sixers right now, their best shooter is Hollis Thompson or Thaddeus Young? That’s not going to work. Someone the 76ers should target is Jerryd Bayless, the shooting guard from the Boston Celtics, who is an unrestricted free agent.
Jerryd Bayless fits the categories described above perfectly. He is a role player, who has had some good moments in his career in Memphis, and did have to carry some sort of a scoring load in Boston last season, averaging about 10 points per game. He has averaged 11.5 points per game in a season one time with Memphis. He has only been in the league for six seasons, and has had some very solid postseason runs. He’s also had some moments in his career that have showed he is not afraid of the moment.
Bayless shot the three at nearly 40 percent with Boston last year in the 41 games he played with them. Which is above the average for NBA players (around 38 percent). Shooting is something the Sixers lack and if nothing else Bayless would provide the Sixers with a shot, and anywhere from 10-15 points per game.
But he is young, and if he continued to work on his game, he could be a great piece and a nice fit for the Sixers going forward. Right NOW, he could start at the 2, and be one of the main scorers for the Sixers. If they signed him to a multi-year contract, he could move back to the bench and be a veteran presence the young guys would need when the main pieces play for the 76ers.
Shooting and scoring is not the only thing the Sixers lack. They also lack defense, and Bayless can also help them on this side of the floor as well. He doesn’t have great stats, averaging about a steal per game. But the big key is he does not turn the ball over. For a guard that does have the ball a lot, he has averaged less than two turnovers per game in the past couple of seasons. Less turnovers equals less fast break opportunities for the other teams, and less transition points. All of this will help keep the young guys legs under them, and be stronger on the defensive side of the ball.
Bayless offers a lot of upside for the Sixers and not a lot of negatives. He can bring energy, offense, defense, and veteran leadership. Something else, with the exception of Thaddeus Young and Jason Richardson, the Sixers do not have a lot of.
The only thing left to decipher upon is how much money and how many years he deserves. The 76ers should ballpark Jerryd Bayless anywhere from 1-4 years, depending on which route they choose to go. Meaning help now, and move on, or help now, help later. As for money they should ballpark him anywhere from four to five and a half million dollars a year. If Jodie Meeks, a former Sixer, can bring in a 20 million dollar deal, then Bayless is more than deserving of a similar deal.
Their are no talks, or mentions of the Sixers targeting Jerryd Bayless, it is just something that should really be considered. Right now this whole concept is a mere idea, but lets hope it can turn into a fortunate reality in the sometime near future.