Final Pre-Free-Agency Predictions for Philadelphia 76ers

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Final Pre-Free-Agency Predictions for Philadelphia 76ers
Matt Slocum/Associated Press
Does Hinkie have any tricks left up his sleeve?

Only one NBA team is going into the free-agency period with more money to spend than the Philadelphia 76ers—the Phoenix Suns, per ESPN.com.

The crazy part is that Philly could go into the start of the season having spent less than any other team because getting people who will contribute to winning simply isn't important for the 2014-15 season.

A perfect example of that was the draft.

People either loved what Philadelphia did in the draft or were disgusted by it. No. 3 overall selection Joel Embiid is out for four to six months (or longer), which puts his return date as early as October or as late as December. We all remember how cautious the Sixers were with Nerlens Noel, whom the team drafted despite knowledge of his torn ACL, so it wouldn't be surprising to see a similar approach with Embiid.

No. 12 overall pick Dario Saric signed a two-year deal to play in Turkey, with a player option for a third, meaning he won't even be in the United States for the upcoming season.

Sure, Philly got some talent in the second round but nothing that will drastically improve its win totals.

Free agency is now upon us, and we can expect a similar result. Let's take a look at a few possibilities.

 

The Sixers Don't Re-Sign Any of Their Upcoming Free Agents

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
Mullens is on his way out.

Casper Ware, Adonis Thomas and Byron Mullens are the only three players on Philly's roster who are going to be free agents, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the Sixers let them all walk.

Philadelphia is completely set on finding talent who will contribute toward success three years from now. If that isn't the case with a particular player, then the Sixers will let him go and bring a new guy in.

Ware never had a role, Thomas saw extremely limited minutes, and Mullens is an NBA journeyman for a reason. There isn't a place for any of these guys right now, since the Sixers aren't looking for roster-fillers.

They're looking for contributors.

It doesn't matter if it's for four minutes per game or 24. It's the same reason why Brandon Davies stayed on the roster throughout the entire year. When he played—and it was rare—he contributed.

 

Lance Stephenson Gets an Offer from Philadelphia 

Ron Hoskins/Getty Images
Offering Stephenson could be an interesting move.

It was said earlier that Philadelphia wouldn't make much of a splash in free agency, but it would be surprising to see general manager Sam Hinkie not try to at least throw a rock.

Stephenson is a 23-year-old who just came off his best year with the Indiana Pacers. At times it looked like he wanted to be "the guy," and there isn't a better team for him to be that player on than the Sixers.

Teaming with Michael Carter-Williams will get Stephenson more looks at the basket than he's dreamed of, and a potentially dangerous Noel could open up space for him off the dribble. Add in Stephenson's defensive energy, and he would be a huge grab for the Sixers moving forward.

There's a strong chance that he wants to be the star of a team. He has his options on where he could end up, but a lot of the bigger markets are clearing cap space for LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. If he doesn't feel wanted by any of those organizations, then another team in a big-market area might have an offer waiting for him: the Philadelphia 76ers.

 

The Sixers Stick to Signing Role Players

What will Philly end up doing?

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Given Philadelphia's ultimate direction, this is the likeliest of scenarios.

Why do the Sixers need somebody who will have a great season but not amount to much in the win column right now? There's just not a logical answer for it, especially when you consider how talented the 2015 free-agent pool is.

Players like LaMarcus Aldridge, Klay Thompson and DeAndre Jordan are all a part of this class. Another possible option would be Kevin Love.

Philly might just want to look at this offseason and tighten up its wallet for next year. Having the most flexibility during the summer of 2015 will be the perfect time for the Sixers to match their rising talent with a free agent's skill set.

Hinkie saved up his money for a reason. It wasn't so that he could spend it all this year. It was so that he could spend it when the time is right.

The bottom line is that the time just isn't currently right.

And there's nothing wrong with that.

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