9 Free agent targets with ties to new 76ers coach Nick Nurse

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Philadelphia 76ers
Patrick Beverley, Chicago Bulls. Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images /

Free Agent No. 8: James Johnson, Big

Let’s go back even further now, to a pair of NBA veterans that Nurse coached back when he was a G League coach. Nick Nurse was the head coach of the Iowa Energy when a young big came onto the roster by the name of James Johnson, assigned by the Chicago Bulls for playing time.

Johnson, now 36 years old, is still in excellent shape and can be a burly defensive big with enough movement to get onto the perimeter. He won’t do much on offense, but as a defensive change-of-pace behind Joel Embiid he may have something to offer.

Free Agent No. 7: Patrick Beverley, Guard

After the Iowa Energy, Nick Nurse took a job as the head coach of the Rio Grande Vipers, where he saw title-winning success and got to know Daryl Morey, who hired him then and again this offseason. Nurse also had a young point guard named Patrick Beverley who was trying to work his way into a full-time spot in the NBA.

Beverley succeeded and has built a long career as a reliable role player. He played well for the Chicago Bulls to end the season and could return, but perhaps Nurse can make a call to his former player about joining a contender. Beverley is a tough defender, a good shooter (37.3 percent from deep for his career) and can either back up D’Anthony Melton or replace him if the Sixers move him in a trade.