By Connor Thomas

 

There was a little bit of news that broke yesterday afternoon, I’m not sure if any of you caught it so here it is:

JAMES HARDEN IS A PHILADELPHIA 76ER!!!!!!

If you missed the citywide celebration of that move that occurred from 2pm Thursday on, well, now you’re all caught up. It’s a huge move for the Sixers, and for the city, and we’ll have plenty of time to analyze that move and how it affects the team’s title odds, but for Daryl Morey and Elton Brand, work is not yet done. The architects of one of the biggest trades in Philadelphia’s history will now turn their eyes to the veteran buyout market to attempt to round out the rest of what is certainly now a championship contending roster. Yes, the Sixers got their man in all-world point guard James Harden, but they gave up Seth Curry and Andre Drummond to do so. The inclusion of the other guy who has not played for the Sixers this season and decided to rather sit at home and sulk doesn’t affect the Sixers roster, so he doesn’t pertain to this conversation. What does matter, though, is the Sixers lost a great spacer in Seth Curry and the best backup ever to Joel Embiid in Andre Drummond. Ideally, those players will be replaced, and the only option now is wait for veteran buyout candidates to come available. Here are some of those players that would make the most sense for Philly:

  • Robin Lopez, C

    Lopez has been spending his season down in Orlando toiling away with the 13-43 Magic. Well, maybe toiling away isn’t the right expression considering he has had minimal playing time there behind Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr. Lopez isn’t a flashy move, and he doesn’t add all that much skill, but he brings size and experience. He’s a 7 footer who has playoff experience, and 13 NBA seasons under his belt. He’s not Andre Drummond, but he’s a backup center who has at least been there before.

  • Goran Dragic, PG

    Dragic is a former all-star point guard, and even though he is far past that point in his career, he’s another veteran option that could significantly improve the Sixers’ second unit. Think about it: Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz, or Goran Dragic, who would you prefer handling the ball in the playoffs? If your answer wasn’t Dragic, I’d love to hear your argument. At 35 years old, he has dropped off since his heyday with the Miami Heat, but like Lopez, he’s a guy who has been in playoff games before and performed. It would be a nice ancillary addition for the Sixers reserves.

  • Tristan Thompson, PF/C

    Thompson never was that versatile of a basketball player, even in his prime, but he did one thing incredibly well: rebound. One of the Sixers biggest issues this season has been their trouble rebounding, and they just lost their best rebounder in Andre Drummond by way of the Harden trade. I don’t care if Thompson doesn’t score a point in a Sixers uniform… ok, that might be a little dramatic, but the point stands: Thompson is a rebounding specialist, and this team needs another rebounder. With a second unit that already has solid spacing with the likes of Danny Green, Furkan Korkmaz, Georges Niang, and Shake Milton, Thompson could be a nice stop gap when Embiid heads to the bench.

  • D.J. Augustin

    Augustin is in his 14th season in the NBA, the most of any player on this list. He’s only averaging 5.4 points per game this season, and at 5’11”, he adds absolutely no size whatsoever. So, why would the Sixers be interested in signing him on the buyout market? Well, there’s one number on Augustin’s basketball reference page that gives you that answer. At the ripe old age of 34 years old, he’s still shooting 40.6% from 3 point range. He’s a career 38% shooter from that range, meaning that he would bring a veteran ball handler who can also add to the already nice spacing of the Sixers’ secondary unit. Like every buyout candidate, there are clear flaws, but that shooting stroke is intriguing as an option for sure.

  • Garry Harris

    Harris, like Augustin, would add to the Sixers second unit spacing, but this time from the 2 guard spot. Harris is shooting 38.8% from deep this year, and at only 27 years old, he has a little more bounce left than Augustin. He also brings more NBA-level size at 6’4”, which is a nice bonus on top of the shooting he would add. Harris also spent the start of his career in Denver as the Nuggets became a perennial playoff team, so he does have experience in the postseason, which is certainly a focus when adding a player to a roster the caliber of the Sixers’ current setup. He’ll draw interest from multiple teams if bought out, and Philly should be one of them.