The 76ers are trying to put things in place ahead of the June 23 NBA draft and free agency.
Multiple league sources said the team is gauging the teams’ interest in Tobias Harris, Matisse Thiebol, Furkan Korkmaz and Shaq Melton, as well as potential business partners for Danny Green and the 23rd pick.
One source said The Sixers are trying to gauge the market to see what they can get for players and draft picks. This approach is part of their efforts to gather information and see which deals can work when it comes time to make a deal.
The Sixers understand that their current roster is not a good fit for winning an NBA Championship. They are determined to upgrade it with established players who can help propel them.
Harris, Thybulle, Milton, Korkmaz, Green and Draft pick are the best commercial assets available, with the team focused on maintaining Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. James Harden, whose stock has fallen, has said in the past that he intends to buy his $47.3 million option for next season.
READ MORE: Trading Danny Green and the 23rd pick could aid the Sixers’ efforts to compete next season
Harris has two years and $76.9 million left on a five-year, $180 million contract that he signed on July 10, 2019.
The Sixers have publicly stated that they will bring back the essence of their players, including Harris. Notably, however, the team is once again trying to figure out what the market is for the team’s fourth scorer behind Embiid, Harden and Maxey.
The Sixers have tried unsuccessfully to trade Harris in the past, in some cases being included in a package with Ben Simmons before the February trade deadline. The Sixers eventually sent Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks along with Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets for Harden and Paul Millsap.
The Sixers would like to have a third star to play alongside all-stars Embiid and Harden. The trade will also allow Harris to be more involved in the team’s game plan. He was the third or fourth choice in his entire tenure at the Sixers.
The Harris contract is the best way to facilitate the type of move that will bring another player with a maximum salary to the Sixers who is above the maximum salary. But the Sixers will have to find a team willing to take on his salary. The Sixers may also have to include assets, perhaps through a third team, to entice a squad with available salary cap space to take on the Harris deal.
Thybulle was deemed untouchable prior to last season’s trade deadline. The Sixers’ refusal to trade with him was a small pause in the trade with Nets for Harden.
However, Thybulle, heading into his fourth year, is an All-Defensive pick for the second team twice but hasn’t progressed offensively as quickly as the Sixers would like. In the playoffs, Thybulle was left wide open for a shot at occasional while the defender was walking around or teaming up with another player. He also missed an important first-round series time of the Sixers against the Raptors because he’s not immune.
Read more: The Sixers didn’t handle their third star right. Tobias Harris is the latest example.
But this season marks the first time Thybulle has been able to focus on improving his attacking game. He was unable to do so during the pandemic lockdown after the junior season. He then spent last summer with the Australian men’s basketball team, winning a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
However, team boss Daryl Morey is said to be a fan of Thybulle, who is heading into the final year of his rookie deal. Thybulle also works with Sixers skill development coaches in Arizona. He will be eligible for a five-year, $186 million extension this summer. While he is unlikely to get that extension, his status with the team is something that deserves close attention.
The Sixers have a $1.9 million club option on Milton for next season. It was reported Wednesday by HoopsHype.com that the Sixers will indeed choose this option. Prior to that, there was a belief around the league that the Sixers would not make the Milton option.
It would make sense to bring Milton back so the Sixers can package him in a deal after the draft is over and head to free agency. If they don’t pick up that option, they’ll have to trade it by July 1, meaning their bargaining power will be nearly zero, so why trade for a player who can be selected as an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. ?
Milton and George Niang were the Sixers’ best proteges this past season. But Milton is not a pure keeper. He thrives as a goalkeeper who dominates the ball, and the Sixers already have ball defenders in Harden and Maxey. As a result, Milton may not be suited to move forward, even though he was their most effective player in losing Game Six to the Miami Heat in the East End Playoff series that ended their season.
Milton and Korkmaz’s minutes were cut after the Sixers took over Harden on the February trading deadline.
Korkmaz is heading into the final two years of his deal after coming off the worst three-point shooting season (28.9%) of his career.
Read more: Will the Sixers trade in the first round draft? In any scenario, they have to do just that.
Sources said the Indiana Pacers were one of the teams that inquired about Korkmaz’s team ahead of last season’s trading deadline. The belief at the time was that a change of scenery might help the four-year-old winger start his career.
Now, sources say he’s part of the group of players that Sixers are putting their sensors to market test.