76ers News: Team could sign shocking former trade target in free agency

The Philadelphia 76ers shockingly tried to trade for this upcoming free agent, and they could once again set their sights on him this summer.
76ers, Daryl Morey
76ers, Daryl Morey / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency will be the main battlefield for the Philadelphia 76ers this offseason. Armed with a thumping $55.5 million in available cap space, the front office will do everything in its power to make the roster as spotless as possible for their championship bids in the upcoming campaigns.

For the ever-ambitious 76ers brass, the only way is to go big. After all, this isn’t the year to be economical — aside from their massive spending power, the East is relatively wide open, and some stars have already been linked to the franchise heading to the offseason.

Having said that, getting that third star won’t be their only missive, as finding the perfect backup big man behind Joel Embiid will also be high on their list of priorities.

Sources: 76ers could pursue Jonas Valanciunas in free agency after trying to trade for him this season

After a year of struggle with finding a viable filler for when Embiid isn’t on the court, the 76ers might have already circled their next target. According to PHLY Sports’ Kyle Neubeck, the front office tried to trade for Jonas Valanciunas earlier before the deadline. The bruising big man is now set to enter free agency.

One can surmise that the 76ers would be more than interested to sign Valanciunas with the Pelicans reported to go in another direction. The question is, would the 32-year-old be amenable to the thought of coming off the bench after starting in almost all of his appearances since his rookie year? Would he be willing to sign at a relatively discounted rate as well?

A low-minute starter during the last two seasons in New Orleans, Valanciunas is a dominant presence in the paint who can score and rebound with utmost ease. His lack of mobility and reliable outside game, however, have been the primary reasons behind his decreasing role in recent years.

Still, Valanciunas would easily be the best fix for Philly’s problem of not having a tenable backup for Embiid. Even better, he’s skilled and experienced enough to start whenever the 2023 MVP misses games due to injury or load management. Having him in the fold could also incentivize the team into giving Embiid fewer minutes.

As long as the price isn’t too lofty that it would paralyze their free agency plans, the Philadelphia 76ers should laser in on Jonas Valanciunas as their main target in the center position. He simply makes too much sense to simply relegate into a what-if from the recent past.

Grade the Trade: 76ers get lucky and nostalgic in proposed risk-free swap. dark. Next. jbutler trade