The Philadelphia 76ers, after missing out on Harrison Barnes, could seek free agent Luol Deng as a backup plan in free agency.
The NBA free agency bartering period opened up on Friday morning, and many of the league’s premier-level free agents ended up with their original teams. Harrison Barnes, notably, will likely go back to the Golden State Warriors, as it looks like the Warriors will miss out on the Kevin Durant sweepstakes.
The Sixers reportedly were interested in targeting Barnes, but with the Warriors prepared to match any offer sheets that the restricted free agent will receive from outside teams, it’s no longer worth the Sixers’ time.
That doesn’t mean they’re done looking to beef up the small forward position, though. There are some second and third-tier free agents that the Sixers could get, and that could also add some experience to the team. One of those players is Luol Deng, who is actually receiving a lot of phone calls around the league.
Right off of the bat, Deng had three teams and his original team on the phone interested in possibly bringing him on, with another seeking a call. There’s not a huge rush for Deng to make a decision, but he may want to make one quickly, so if the Sixers are looking to get him, they need to call soon.
Deng is no Harrison Barnes, but has been in the league for some time — 12 seasons, to be exact — and offers a ton of experience. With him and Jerryd Bayless (8 seasons under his belt) hypothetically both joining the Sixers, it would be tough to really call them a youthful team any longer.
While Deng is certainly past his prime, he was still solid for the competitive Miami Heat last year, even deep in their playoff run. He averaged 12.3 points and 6.0 rebounds for the Heat last season.
I don’t see any reason why the Sixers would target Deng, but with Barnes out of the picture, it’s also tough to argue a reasoning for why the Sixers wouldn’t just give him a call.