How the Sixers can build a championship contender this off-season | The Triangle

How the Sixers can build a championship contender this off-season

Photo by Anjalee Sharma | The Triangle

After another disappointing finish in the postseason, the Philadelphia 76ers are due for big changes this offseason. With $60M in cap space and draft capital to trade, there will be lots of movement and new faces on the team.

The Sixers main target this offseason appears to be Los Angeles Clippers Forward Paul George. George is expected to decline his player-option with the Clippers and become a free agent. He is expected to command a max contract, something L.A. has been reluctant to offer him so far. If he becomes available, and the Sixers are willing to meet his asking price, he would be an incredible fit next to the Sixers two all-stars, Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid.

If George remains with the Clippers or signs elsewhere, the Sixers could look to pivot to a familiar face, Miami Heat Forward Jimmy Butler. Butler, like George, wants a max deal and has not gotten it from Miami. The difference here is Butler has one year left on his contract, so any deal to make him a Sixer would require the Sixers to give up assets. Butler is also a phenomenal fit with Maxey and Embiid and could give the team a playoff-riser, which they have been searching for since The Process began.

One of the potential risks of adding Butler or George on a max deal is the lack of flexibility that the Sixers will have to add quality role players and remain compliant with the NBA’s salary cap. It is projected that Embiid and Maxey will combine to make $92 million next season. The NBA salary cap is set to be $141 million, with teams able to use certain loopholes to increase spending to $189 million. While it may seem dangerous to add George or Butler at $47 million a year, the Sixers would be met with significant financial flexibility in the 2025-2026 season when the NBA signs their new TV deals. Forbes reports that the NBA’s highest cap threshold could increase by $50 million by the 2026-2027 season, meaning that the Sixers almost immediately regain financial flexibility in upcoming seasons. 

There is also a scenario where the Sixers do not land a big-name star and look to fill out their roster with high-level role players. Names like Kings Guard Malik Monk and Warriors Guard/Forward Klay Thompson have been floated out, two players who would give the Sixers shooting and shot-creation. If the star-route does not work out, Daryl Morey and the Sixers would look to prioritize their own free agents, as well. Guard Kelly Oubre and Forward Nicolas Batum would likely be the top priorities.

The Sixers also have the 16th pick in the NBA Draft, a selection that will almost certainly not be made by the team. Morey has been vocal in wanting players who can help the team win right away, and that is not where draft picks thrive. The Sixers have been active on draft day in recent years, trading for the likes of guards Seth Curry and De’Anthony Melton. Look for the team to acquire a similar-level talent with the aforementioned draft pick.

Morey has always pointed to this upcoming offseason when Sixers fans were pessimistic, touting the fact that it is extremely rare for a team that already has two all-stars to have this much flexibility to add high-level talent. Flexibility does not win championships, though, and it is up to Morey to deliver. There are certainly players available this Summer that could take the Sixers to another level, so the goal is in reach.