Ben Simmons trade rumors may be at the forefront of Philadelphia 76ers fans’ minds, but team president Daryl Morey has a lot to do beyond weighing the merits of Simmons-centric moves. As ever, he has a whole roster to consider as he aims to keep the Sixers in the NBA title picture.
With that goal in mind, Philly may have additional moves to make before the 2021-22 campaign tips off, even with a near-capacity roster. And, according to a Tuesday report by Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, Morey and Co. may be considering a move to bring in a four-time All-Star and 15-year NBA veteran.
Namely, unrestricted free agent Paul Millsap.
“The 36-year-old former All-Star has drawn interest from the Warriors, Hawks, Nets, Pelicans, 76ers and Timberwolves,” wrote Fisher. However, he also added that none of his sources were indicating that a deal with one of those clubs had “come close to the finish line.”
Something Left to Offer a Contender?
Last season, Millsap started in 36 of his 56 games played for the Denver Nuggets. And while his All-Star days are clearly long behind him, he was still relatively effective for his age, averaging 9.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 0.9 steals in 20.8 minutes per game.
Unless he suffers through another big drop in efficacy next season, that output combined with his experience and leadership by example would be an asset for any would-be contender. For their part, the Sixers certainly could have used him as a stabilizing presence during their ill-fated playoff run last season.
Meanwhile, Fischer believes that the big man could be a low-key difference-maker in ’21-22.
“Millsap could very well end up being this year’s Nic Batum,” he wrote. “A skilled mercenary who rounds out a playoff unit’s starting lineup or top of their rotation in a reduced role.”
However, his actual fit with Philly may be questionable at this point with the team having already inked the much-younger Georges Niang as a stretch big man. On the other hand, Millsap may be coming to the realization that his days as a key rotational piece are nearing their end.
Or perhaps he could even usurp Niang’s spot in the rotation; although Millsap’s speed and athleticism have diminished, he may still be a better defender than Niang, whose “Minivan” moniker is well-earned. That particular scenario seems unlikely, however.
“I think he just wants to know he’s the third big or the reserve, small-ball 5 for a good team,” one assistant general manager told B/R. Millsap is a career 34.3% three-point shooter.
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An Extended Free Agency
Millsap may be the best free agent left on the open market, but it could be some time before he actually lands with another NBA team.
“I think he’s gonna be a minimum or a midseason guy,” one veteran exec told Fischer. “What’s the rush? The money wouldn’t get much better, and he can just pick his team. What if New Orleans is really good come January? What happens when some guy gets hurt, and that team starts scrambling for a replacement? He can pick his spot.”
Former Sixers sharpshooter JJ Redick, who was previously labeled a possible fit with Philly, is in a similar situation.
“I would say, pretty much definitively, like, I won’t be in a training camp to start the season. That’s not gonna happen,” he said on The Old Man and the Three podcast. “So, you know, I’ll join a team at some point this season and finish the year and try to go get a chip.”