It looks like the Sixers will finally see at least one of their 2014 lottery picks suit up for the team this coming season.
Word of Dario Saric’s imminent arrival – he recently informed his Turkish teammates of his intention to join the Sixers this summer, according to a report – is good news for an organization (and a fan base) that could really use some.
If all goes according to plan, Saric will be joined by the Sixers other ’14 lotto pick, Joel Embiid, on the team’s active roster next season, providing the ultimate double-dose of delated gratification. The team’s potential upcoming additions don’t stop there though. Thanks to Sam Hinkie’s groundwork the team has ample cap space with which to sign impact players, as well as up to four first round picks in the upcoming 2016 Draft.
This influx of aptitude will work to rise the overall talent level on the roster, and in turn expedite the Sixers climb back to contention. However, all of the potential additions mean some subtractions for the Sixers this summer. Some familiar faces will need to be shed in order to accommodate the incoming athletes, while Bryan Colangelo’s mandate to contend signifies the end of the Sixers phase of talent testing.
“It won’t be the same 15 guys on the roster [to start the season], or I haven’t done my job,” Colangelo joked on air last week, alluding to the fact that [potentially major] roster moves are on the horizon for the Sixers.
Over the past three seasons – while W-L record was not the main motivator – the Sixers had the luxury of being able to try out and develop young, inexperienced talent on-court. Unproven players were given an opportunity to show their stuff. Some, like Robert Covington, proved to be potential pieces. Others didn’t. With the Colangelo’s now at the helm, the organizational aim has obviously shifted, and it is safe to assume that the same ample opportunity won’t be afforded to the J.P. Tokoto’s of the world under Bryan.
Thus, with this being said, many of the players that currently populate the Sixers roster won’t be there at the start of next season.
Elton Brand’s playing days are likely behind him – for real this time. He is not under contract for next season, and it is unlikely that the team will invest a roster spot in bringing him back as a mentor, although having him around the organization in another capacity wouldn’t be a bad idea. Ish Smith is also off of the books, and while the Sixers certainly need a point guard, or two, Smith will have several suitors, and the Sixers may opt to go in a different direction.
Players with a team option – Hollis Thompson, Kendall Marshall, TJ McConnell – face an uncertain future. It is likely that we have seen the last of Kendall Marshall as a Sixer, while the team’s lack of other point guards may work in McConnell’s favor this summer. Thompson has a legitimate NBA skill, but the presence of other floor-spacing forwards on the roster – Covington, Stauskas – as well as whoever Colangelo may be interested in adding in free agency, may make him dispensable. Isaiah Canaan, who the Sixers can extend a qualifying offer to, may also have taken his last heat-check in a Sixers uniform.
The Sixers over-crowded frontcourt will likely be at the center of this summer’s shake-up. As currently constructed Carl Landry, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric*, Richuan Holmes, Jerami Grant, and Covingtom will all be on the roster next season. That’s a whole lot of depth. It is extremely likely that Colangelo will utilize some of these pieces in moves to bolster other areas of the roster.
It is important to keep in mind that Bryan Colangelo didn’t bring in any of these players himself, so there is no level of personal involvement or attachment when it comes to trades. Virtually anything is on the table. While much of the Sixers’ immediate future is undetermined, it is certain that the roster will look vastly different come next season’s start.
*Assuming Saric does indeed sign with the Sixers this summer