Sixers Brass Reveal Next Steps: ‘Spend Whatever We Need to Spend’

Doc Rivers, Kevin Durant

Getty Free agents are attracted to the Philadelphia 76ers because they want to play for Doc Rivers.

Free agency doesn’t begin until 6 p.m. on June 30, so expect another week of wild rumors. The Philadelphia 76ers have been linked to several players, most notably P.J. Tucker and Gary Harris — as the team heads to the negotiating table with James Harden.

They have plenty of areas to address. And rotational pieces to add. Good thing Sixers’ ownership has extended a blank check to Daryl Morey. The team president revealed the news during his media availability on June 24. Morey knows he’ll need to get creative to plug roster holes for the cash-strapped Sixers.

Still, it has to be reassuring to know Josh Harris and David Blitzer are willing to do whatever it takes. Which they are.

“We’re excited for free agency,” Morey told reporters. “I don’t know how it’ll play out. Josh and David have given us every ability to do whatever we need to do in free agency, to make the team better now. Add hopefully another rotation piece.

“That’s a little ways away, and who knows how it’ll play out, but people want to play here. People love our team. People love playing with Joel [Embiid], love playing with James [Harden], love playing with Tobias [Harris].”

It won’t be easy, not with the Sixers sitting at $153.4 million in total cap. The luxury tax threshold is projected at $149 million, with the tax apron at $155 million. That means the non-taxpayer mid-level exception is probably off the table.

“Again, Josh and David are going to let us spend whatever we need to spend,” Morey said. “The CBA [Collective Bargaining Agreement] constrains us in certain ways so that sometimes you don’t get everyone you want because of that.

“But we think, mapping it out the best we can with quite a few options, maybe 8-12 [players] that we think can contribute and might be in the range of what we’re allowed to do. We feel pretty good that we might be able to get someone who can contribute and be in our playoff rotation.”

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Free Agents Want to Play for Doc Rivers

Did Morey spill the beans on Tobias Harris’ future in Philly? Maybe. The savvy front-office executive seemed to say that he is using Harris as a selling point to free agents.

He also name-dropped Doc Rivers as a big reason why guys might take a slight pay cut to wear a Sixers uniform. The chance to play for the 9th most winningest coach in NBA history while competing for a championship is Morey’s trump card.

“People want to play for him [Rivers] because he’s very upfront with what role they’ll have. And I think that’s helped us recruit,” Morey said. “Hopefully after free agency, we’re going to be a pretty deep team, and so maybe we will have a challenge of promising roles but I think what balances that is … the city, winning team, Coach Rivers. I can’t tell you how much when I’m out there people are like, ‘I want to play for Doc,’ and that’s been very helpful to me.”

Update on James Harden Negotiations

The Sixers have yet to talk to James Harden about a potential contract extension. Why? Because they aren’t allowed to start negotiating until June 30.

Harden is expected to pick up his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season, then the two sides will work on what could amount to a two-year contract at max value. Morey couldn’t reveal too much when asked about it after the draft.

“Well, we can’t talk yet. I don’t know,” Morey said. “We’ll have conversations with him and, as you guys have heard, it’s a mutual lovefest. So, we feel like we’ll work it out.”

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