Now that they’ve choked another series lead and went back home in the second round for the third straight year — and the fourth time in the past five seasons — fans and analysts alike will try and focus on the Sixers’ offseason plans in 2023.
The Philadelphia 76ers were once again one of the biggest disappointments in the league. It’s not that they couldn’t lose to the Boston Celtics — arguably a better team than them — but that they failed to close them out in back-to-back games, one of those at home.
Sixers offseason plans 2023
This team has been rather dysfunctional for years now, and not even getting rid of Ben Simmons was enough to change that. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at their current outcome for the offseason, as well as some of the upcoming Sixers free agents and where the team stands right now.
- James Harden – Player option
- Danuel House Jr. – Player Option
- Montrezl Harrell – Player Option
- Georges Niang – Unrestricted
- Shake Milton – Unrestricted
- Jalen McDaniels – Unrestricted
- Dewayne Dedmon – Unrestricted
- Louis King – Unrestricted
- Paul Reed – Restricted
- Mac McClung – Restricted
The Sixers can fully expect Montrezl Harrell to opt out of his deal, as he’s always wanted a bigger role. Danuel House Jr. didn’t play as much, either, so he could also opt out. As for James Harden, his future is still up in the air.
They need to find a way to retain Jalen McDaniels, who was one of their defenders. Shake Milton lost some ground in the rotation, but he’s always had a prominent role, so he might want to stay. As for Louis King and Dewayne Dedmon, they were non-factors.
What about Daryl Morey?
Sixers offseason rumors don’t revolve exclusively around the players. They have already parted ways with Doc Rivers — which was obvious and long overdue — and he might not be the only one to lose his job. Daryl Morey pretty much promised to deliver a championship, and that hasn’t happened just yet.
Morey got them James Harden and managed to ditch Ben Simmons and his contract. He also orchestrated this potential championship-winning core, but the team also spent plenty of money and — once again — had pretty much nothing to show for it. Morey’s future could also be key to James Harden’s future.
Will Harden stay Or leave?
James Harden’s future will determine plenty of the Sixers offseason plans 2023. There are rumors of the Houston Rockets wanting him back, which is a bit of a surprise, considering the fact that he forced his way out of the team by showing up to camp late and out of shape and calling his teammates out.
Harden and the Rockets are reportedly willing to bury the hatchet and make it all water under the bridge. He would gladly go back to the team where he broke out as one of the greatest scorers this game has ever seen, even if they’re nowhere near ready to compete at the highest level.
Ultimately, Harden controls his own fate. He could opt out of the second year of his contract and still sign another deal with the Sixers, or he could test the waters and pursue a bigger payday in free agency somewhere else. Joel Embiid wants him back, but we’ve seen these kinds of things happen way too many times in the past.
Hiring a new coach
Head coach salaries are often undisclosed, but whoever takes this job should demand steep pay. The Sixers have had a dysfunctional dynamic for a long time already, and it’s evident that the stars aren’t exactly thrilled with some of their teammates.
Ben Simmons looked like a toxic presence in the locker room, but things didn’t change much after his departure. A new coach will have to deal with a lot of egos, not to mention the fact that expectations will continue to be at an all-time high.
Sam Cassell could step up after 14 years as an assistant — and the last three with the organization. Mike D’Antoni also makes sense if they want to keep James Harden on board. Nick Nurse found success with the Toronto Raptors but struggled to deal with his personnel. Also, Mike Budenholzer and Monty Williams might not be available for long, so they need to make a run fast.
Joel Embiid: The elephant in the room
Joel Embiid pretty much threw every single one of his teammates not named James Harden under the bus. So, Sixers’ free agency targets in 2023 will all most likely have to be approved by the reigning MVP, or he might threaten to leave.
Obviously, Embiid’s words may have rubbed his teammates the wrong way, especially considering that he and Harden combined for 8-for-29 shooting in a close-out game. He’s putting a lot of pressure on the front office to put together an elite roster, even though they had plenty of depth this time as well.
Perhaps the biggest issue will continue to be Tobias Harris‘ contract. He’s making top dollar and obviously not living up to that kind of contract, and that also hampers the team’s financial flexibility. Fortunately, he’s finally entering the final year of that contract, so they could look to move on from him and add more pieces around their MVP.
They also need to extend Tyrese Maxey and determine whether they want to extend De’Anthony Melton. But, all things considered, this team’s issues might not necessarily be due to roster construction. It seems like they run deeper than that.