Could the Sixers Bring Back Any Of Their Own Free Agents?


It is now over twenty days into the NBA free agency period, and the Philadelphia 76ers have remained relatively quiet  by only signing T.J. McConnell, Pierre Jackson, and Scottie Wilbekin to partially-guaranteed contracts. In what it now Sam Hinkie’s third offseason as the man in charge, he has stayed away from being an active player in free agency. But while Hinkie believes in building through the draft and acquiring assets through trades, he will go after the right free agent if they are available (as he reportedly had a meeting set up for Jimmy Butler). What Sam will not do is go out of his way to pay a lot of money to players that he doesn’t believe will move the needle.

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Just because the Sixers did not sign any of the more notable names on the market does not mean that they will not sign anyone. Most fans probably forget that the Sixers have three players from last year’s squad that remain unsigned free agents. Ish Smith, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Jason Richardson each made respectable contributions in the 2014-15 season. In early July Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that there was still a possibility that the Sixers could bring back their trio of free agents:

Ish Smith has been viewed as the most likely of the trio that the Sixers would bring back. In 25 games last season, Smith averaged 12.0 points and 6.1 assists while shooting 39.8 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from deep. His quick speed while running the break and efficiency in running the pick ‘n’ roll led him to finish out the season as the starter after originally being claimed off of waivers.

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While the Sixers have a lot of options at the point guard position, with Tony Wroten, Isaiah Canaan, Pierre Jackson, T.J. McConnell, and Scottie Wilbekin all under contract, none of them have too strong of a resume coming into this season. Wroten had a strong start to last season, but is now coming off a partially torn ACL and does not project as a starting NBA point guard. Canaan flashed his long range shooting ability after the Sixers dealt for him, but he struggled in running the offense. Jackson plays a lot like Canaan, in that he can shoot the lights out from deep, but he is coming off of an ACL tear and has no NBA experience. McConnell has played well in summer league but, you know, it’s just summer league.

Brett Brown raved about Smith towards the end of the season, and would constantly comment that he believe’s Smith shot could be fixed and improved. So while the point guard position may seem to crowded for Ish to return, I wouldn’t rule out him being in a Sixer uniform next season just yet.

Since Pompey’s report that Mbah a Moute had signed with the Sacramento Kings, the agreement was voided after he failed his physical. Regardless, it is hard to see the Sixers bringing him back due to a lack of room for him in the depth chart. While Mbah a Moute had a surprisingly good season for the Sixers last year, the wing and forward positions are even more crowded than last year. With a lot of young players on the roster, the Sixers are going to prioritize them getting minutes over a veteran like Mbah a Moute.

The same situation can be applied to Jason Richardson, who is 34 and entering his 14th year in the league. Richardson is a shooting guard and the Sixers have young guards, such as Hollis Thompson, Nik Stauskas, JaKarr Sampson, and maybe even one of their point guards, that they would rather give minutes to. Richardson has been a class act for the past two seasons, from batting knee injury after knee injury to finally making it on the court for 19 games at the end of last season. He always talked about how much he enjoyed being around a young team while he rehabbed for the past two seasons.

I’m sure the Sixers would love to have Richardson around their young team, but they don’t have a lot of minutes to offer him. J-Rich deserves to go to a contender as plays out the final leg of his career. Look for him to do just that and sign a minimum contract with competitive team sometime this summer.

Next: Who Will Be The Sixers' Point Guard?