NBA GM Says James Harden’s Departure Could Lead to Sixers Keeping Fan Favorite

James Harden

Getty James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers

Paul Reed has become a fan favorite for the Philadelphia 76ers, as he’s earned the nickname “Bball Paul.” Reed also started to play better when the Sixers gave him a bigger role as their primary backup for Joel Embiid. Reed will enter the 2023 NBA offseason as a restricted free agent, which could be troublesome for the Sixers following his breakout.

However, an Eastern Conference GM told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveneny that James Harden’s potential departure could pave the way for the Sixers to keep Reed.

“They don’t want to lose him. They put a lot of work into getting him where he is. If James Harden leaves, it loosens things up, and they can keep (Reed) and maybe McDaniels, too.”

Because Reed played well after he was designated as their backup center full-time, the GM believes he will attract some suitors this summer.

“Reed will get some attention,” the GM told Deveney. “He will probably look for a full mid-level deal somewhere, maybe Chicago depending on what happens with Vucevic there. A young team, up-and-coming, like Sacramento. He could be a real target there because they need some big-man depth. There are threats out there. He will get a lot of interest. His stock has doubled since January.

Paul Reed Says He Wants to Stay With Sixers

After the Sixers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics, Reed expressed his desire to stay with the team while talking with Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“If they would like to keep me, then I would like to come back for sure,” Reed told Pompey. “I really would like to come back.”

Furthermore, Reed explained why he was not surprised by his own success once the Sixers gave him a bigger role.

“This is stuff I already knew about myself,” Reed said. “You know, I’m ready to step up to the moment, be clutch when I need to. And, like a lot of people, pressure can bust pipes. But for me, I feel like pressure turns me into a diamond.”

Reed played in all 11 games for the Sixers during the postseason. In 14.3 minutes a game, Reed averaged 4.6 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 57.9% from the field overall.

Andre Drummond Named as Possible Paul Reed Replacement

With Reed’s upcoming free agency, podcaster Adam Aaronson of The Rights to Ricky Sanchez mentioned that it’s very possible the Sixers could lose him if offers for him are too rich for the Sixers’ liking.

“It will be hard to stomach letting Reed or McDaniels go, but each of them could theoretically fetch an offer sheet from a rebuilding team that’s hefty enough to make the Sixers nervous about matching,” Aaronson said.

If Reed, in fact, leaves, Aaronson brought up ex-Sixer and two-time all-star Andre Drummond as his replacement.

“This will not be the first time I have suggested this player, but if Reed actually does depart for a young team eager to price the Sixers out, why not bring back Andre Drummond?”

Drummond has previous experience playing as Embiid’s backup for the Sixers. However, for a reunion to come to fruition, Drummond will have to opt out of his current deal with the Bulls for next season, which has yet to be confirmed if that’s what he plans to do.

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