The Philadelphia 76ers drafted Ben Simmons, a potential franchise player, first overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. Joel Embiid and Dario Saric may actually play for them this year. The Sixers should definitely be better this season, basically, although it would be really hard to be any worse than they were for the past three years.
Philadelphia will not simply stand pat with players already incoming and hope for the best, though. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Sixers are planning to take a run at signing Harrison Barnes.
Barnes is in an interesting position thanks to the major increase in the salary cap this summer. Even if he stays with the Golden State Warriors, he’s in line for a big salary bump, and he may end up with a max deal just by being in the right place at the right time. Barnes is a restricted free agent, which means the Warriors can match any deal that he gets, but that apparently isn’t going to stop the Sixers from trying to sign him.
It makes sense from Philly’s perspective. They have a ton of cap space and a real need for talent, so they can afford to make a huge offer to a player even with the risk that it will be matched. If the Sixers offer Barnes a big, max-type deal, the Warriors will have to think really hard about re-signing him – especially if they’re still waiting on a decision from Kevin Durant.
The Sixers have been stockpiling assets and cap space for years. Now they seem ready to try and take advantage of it, with Barnes at the top of the list.
(Via Marc Stein)