76ers' 2022 Free-Agent Big Board, Top Players to Target

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 26, 2022

76ers' 2022 Free-Agent Big Board, Top Players to Target

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    The Philadelphia 76ers have a pathway to championship contention simply by way of rostering perennial MVP candidate Joel Embiid.

    Having said that, this window won't stay open forever.

    So, Philly's failure to advance beyond the postseason's second round must be corrected sooner than later. The 2022 NBA offseason is the perfect time to address that issue.

    The Sixers could have a busy summer, as there are different avenues to significant cap space or blockbuster trades. However, we won't assume that financial flexibility is coming here and instead will identify potential targets for the taxpayer's mid-level exception.

3. Delon Wright

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    Embiid's presence provides a certain level of protection on the back line of Philly's defense, but it's not enough to cover all of the leaks on the perimeter.

    Once Ben Simmons was swapped out for James Harden, the Sixers essentially had two above-average stoppers outside: Danny Green, who turns 35 in June, and Matisse Thybulle, whose offensive limitations basically made him unplayable in the postseason.

    That's all a long-winded way of saying the Sixers need stoppers. Delon Wright is an interesting option.

    He has the speed to keep pace with point guards and the length and strength to pester wings. While he's not the shooting threat Philly ideally wants (0.7 threes per game for his career), his playmaking would fill a void on the second unit.

2. Cody Martin

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    Last season, Cody Martin did everything he could to earn a new contract in Charlotte.

    His floor time climbed to a career-high 26.3 minutes per outing, and the rest of his stat sheet followed suit. Among his many personal bests were 7.7 points, 2.5 assists (against 0.9 turnovers) and a 48.2/38.4/70.1 shooting slash.

    That won't make him easy to pry away from the Hornets, since they have some control here as he is a restricted free agent. However, the budget could get tight in Buzz City even without him. They've already paid the likes of Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier, they'll need to pay for Miles Bridges this summer (plus save up for LaMelo Ball's extension next year) and their center search could push the payroll higher.

    If all of that squeezes Martin out of Charlotte, Philly should be ready to pounce. The 6'5" swingman would immediately address needs for shooting, defending and finishing at the wing spots.

1. Gary Harris

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    Gary Harris hit some rough patches in recent seasons, battling both injury issues and a suddenly erratic jumper.

    But his defense never went away. His impact on that end happens to be great enough where that alone could put him on Philly's radar.

    What helps him snag the No. 1 spot here, though, is the fact his three-ball heroically returned this season and helped get his offense back on track. His 11.1 points per game were his most in three seasons. His 43.4 field-goal percentage was his highest in four. His 38.4 three-point percentage was the third-highest of his career. His 87.4 free-throw percentage was his most accurate ever.

    In other words, Harris looks like a fully functional three-and-D swingman. That same skillset once netted him more than $80 million. He won't be nearly as pricey this time around, but his strengths so closely alone with Philly's needs that the Sixers will feel they've hit the jackpot if they can somehow reel him in.