Report: Sixers Interested in Anthony Bennett


The start of the Sixers training camp is under a week away, yet the camp roster may not be finalized just yet. Both Sam Amico of Fox Sports and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported that the Sixers have interest in Anthony Bennett, who reached a buy-out agreement with the Timberwolves yesterday:

"The Trail Blazers, Magic and 76ers are all said to be interested in forward Anthony Bennett should he reach a buyout with the Timberwolves, per Amico Hoops sources.-Sam Amico"

"Philadelphia and Portland plan to look carefully at the possibility of claiming Bennett, league sources told Yahoo Sports.-Adrian Wojnarowski"

Bennett was the first-overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, which was the draft that Nerlens Noel was considered to be the consensus number one pick before he ultimately fell to sixth. Unfortunately, since being selected with the number one pick everything has been downhill for the UNLV product.

In his rookie season Bennett only appeared in 52 games while averaging 4.2 points and 2.o rebounds in 12.8 minutes of work. He also dealt with a couple of off-court issues, which included struggling to stay in shape and sleep apnea. After a disappointing rookie season Bennett was dealt to the Timberwolves as a part of the Kevin LoveAndrew Wiggins trade.

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Even after shedding weight and showing signs of improvement during summer league play, Anthony Bennett had another disappointing season with the Timberwolves last year. Leg and ankle injuries caused him to miss a good chunk of the season as Bennett would go on to appear in 57 games while averaging 15.7 minutes, 5.2 points, and 3.8 rebounds. After not being able to work up a deal over the summer, the Timberwolves and Bennett agreed to split via buyout.

Bennett will first be released by the Wolves and will have to clear waivers before he can become an unrestricted free agent. AB’s current contract is structured as so: $5.8 million for 2015-16, a club option worth $7.3 million that must be acted on by November 2 for 2016-17, and a qualifying offer for $9.5 million in 2017-18. According to Woj the only teams that have the cap flexibility to be able to claim Bennett off waivers are the 76ers, Trailblazers, Cavaliers (lol, can you imagine?), and Jazz.

In the days leading up to the completion of the Love-Wiggins deal it was reported that Bennett would be going from Minnesota to Philly in a separate deal centered around Thaddeus Young. The Sixers and Wolves did eventually execute the Thad Young deal, but Bennett was not involved. If Bennett was discussed in a potential deal last summer, Philly has another opportunity to bring the former first-overall pick on board.

I am 110 percent serious when I say that I would be surprised if Anthony Bennett is not claimed/signed by the Sixers. Sam Hinkie has had a knack for brining on former first-round picks with ‘untapped’ potential in the past, such as Daniel Orton, Royce White, Tony Wroten, and Thomas Robinson. Taking a flyer on any of these players have not worked out long-term (with the exception of maybe Wroten), but the Sixers love to utilize their rebuilding scenario to give as many players that they feel have potential a chance to show what they can do with extended minutes. With the being said Bennett certainly fits the mold of the type of player the Sixers take chances on.

If (and I am seriously emphasizing the ‘if’ part here) Anthony Bennett is able to stay healthy and begin to develop into an actual,serviceable NBA player he could be a really valuable piece for the Sixers moving forward. At his best, Bennett projects as a power forward that can pass, rebound, and shoot from the mid-range. His shooting and rebounding ability would make him a great fit next to both Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor in the front court.

There really is not a downside to taking a flyer on Anthony Bennett by claiming him off waivers. The Sixers have the cap room to absorb Bennett without even making a dent and they will have over a month with him in camp before they have to make a decision on his team option for 2016-17. If the Sixers did bring him on, then they would have to make a corresponding move as their roster is already at the training camp limit of 20 players. In camp Bennett would have to battle with Richaun Holmes, Christian Wood, Carl Landry, Furkan Aldemir, and Arsalan Kazemi for the few spots up for grabs in the front court.

The worst case scenario for bringing Bennett in would play out like this: him struggling in camp, the team cutting him, and then the Sixers would just be responsible for his 2015-16 cap number. Not an end of the world worst case scenario for a player that still has some upside. Your move, Sam.

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