Grade the Deal: 76ers match Jazz’s wily offer sheet, keep Paul Reed

Philadelphia 76ers, Paul Reed (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers, Paul Reed (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers have had a not-so-inspiring offseason so far, but the front office finally struck lightning, managing to keep big man Paul Reed after matching the Utah Jazz’s $23 million offer sheet that was pieced rather unorthodoxly.

Reed’s offer sheet from the Jazz has been the talk of the town recently, if only for its zany sheen. Only the first year was fully guaranteed, while the next two years become guaranteed only upon the condition that the 76ers make the second round of the playoffs next season. That clever poison pill proviso was intended to disincentivize Philly from matching as it would push them, a playoff-bound team, into luxury tax territory.

Lo and behold, the Sixers get to keep the incoming fourth-year player, who was able to clinch a niche role for the team last season, particularly in the postseason.

The Philadelphia 76ers keep Paul Reed after matching Utah’s offer sheet

Fondly coined as B-Ball Paul by fans, Reed had a slow start to his 76ers. However, after showing glimpses in his second season, the team finally settled in with him as Joel Embiid’s primary backup, playing a career-high 69 games last season and even emerging as a key rotation player during the playoffs.

Hence, keeping Reed was one of the more understated priorities for the front office this offseason. The limbo was quite lengthy after the Sixers tendered a qualifying offer, but the Jazz eventually tried to lure him away from Philly. Fortunately, the team’s brass took a leap and matched the offer sheet, securing the young big man’s services for another season at least.

An annual salary of $8 million may be pictured as a steep price, but the design of Reed’s deal gives the 76ers a lot of flexibility moving forward. Should the team make a deep playoff run, they reap the double reward of retaining Reed for two more seasons. Conversely, another botched postseason will allow them to move on from him and extract some more wiggle room to make much-needed changes to the roster at that juncture.

Philly’s center rotation behind Embiid is a bit crowded after the 76ers signed Mo Bamba and perplexingly retained Montrezl Harrell, but Reed should be be able to reprise his role last season as the primary center in the second unit. His athleticism, malleability on defense, and motor should give him the edge over the other two. He also played well when he was thrust into the opening group in contests sans the reigning MVP.

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Ultimately, the Philadelphia 76ers showed some bravado matching Paul Reed’s offer sheet that effectively pushed them $6.6 million into the luxury tax with some roster spots still open. Nevertheless, retaining Paul Reed was always something that will play into the team’s benefit — and that should still be the case next season.

Grade: A