Is there a chance that a different future Hall-of-Fame talent from the Portland Trail Blazers is suiting up for Philly come next season though?
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The Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter Marc Narducci posted an article Monday featuring “Five potential free agents the Sixers should consider for the bench”, and among them was Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony.
This is not a superstar free-agent class — unless an injured Kawhi Leonard and 36-year-old point guard Chris Paul opt out of their deals and don’t re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns, respectively. The Sixers would likely have to acquire Leonard, Paul or someone such as Toronto free agent Kyle Lowry in a sign-and-trade.
Still, there are some bench players who could be free agents who could really help the Sixers regardless of what changes they make to the starting lineup.
The 37-year-old 10-time All-Star is an unrestricted free agent and could get attention from numerous teams.
Many critics said Anthony would never accept a bench role. This past season, he started just three of 69 games and averaged 13.4 points, shooting 40.9% from three-point range, the second-best percentage of his career.
The Sixers are in a win-now mode, and he would bring experience and scoring, plenty of it. This season, he made the veterans-minimum $2.56 million. He is another player who made a good impression against the Sixers, averaging 23 points in the Trail Blazers’ two games.
Melo is one of the most obvious examples of a veteran player nearing the end of his career who has still not made an NBA Finals appearance. Depending on how things shake out for the rest of the Sixers roster this summer, joining Philadelphia could give Anthony a decent chance of reaching the promised land.
A Return Home for Former Sixer Lou Williams?
The last Sixers fans saw of Lou Williams, he was helping lead the Atlanta Hawks to an upset win in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. That shouldn’t make “Sweet Lou” any less valuable as a key cog off the bench and a potential off-season target.
Williams earned $8 million this past season. He was sent to Atlanta from the Los Angeles Clippers at the trade deadline. Between the two teams, he averaged 11.3 points and shot 39.9% from three-point range.
Williams is still adept at creating his own shot. He’ll never win awards for defense, but he can score in bunches.
Narducci points to Williams’ epic fourth quarter performance during Game Five of the Sixers-Hawks playoffs series as proof that the 34-year-old guard can still get it done. The sharpshooter was drafted by the Sixers way back in 2005 and had plenty of shining moments off the bench in his seven seasons with the organization, so it’d be quite a story if he were to return to the first city he called home.
Should the Sixers Try to Bring Back Dwight Howard?
Of the final three possible free agent targets, one is a win away from earning an NBA title, one guy has already played for 10 NBA teams, and the other is a player who appeared in all but three games for the Sixers this season.
At 26 years old, Bobby Portis of the Milwaukee Bucks is by far the youngest player on Narducci’s list. Though Portis has a player option for $3.8 million next season, Narducci says he “will almost certainly deny it”.
Though all of the other four players in Narducci’s article have suited up for at least four teams, nobody can match Trevor Ariza’s stops in 10 locales. Ariza played just 30 games this past season with the Miami Heat and made $12.8 million.
Dwight Howard is the lone in-house athlete that Narducci mentions in the article.
Yes, this is one of the Sixers’ free agents they should consider re-signing. Like Anthony, Howard earned the veteran’s minimum $2.56 million and proved to be durable, appearing in 69 of 72 games.
He had a penchant for committing too many offensive fouls, but was a beast on the boards. He was second in the NBA in rebounds per 100 possessions (23.0) in the regular season.
Howard is among four Sixers unrestricted free agents this summer, joining Danny Green, Furkan Korkmaz, and Mike Scott.