Where Will Carmelo Anthony and Kawhi Leonard End Up This Summer?
The question everyone is asking is where will Carmelo Anthony and Kawhi Leonard end up this summer?
The 76ers lost their semi conference matchup to the Boston Celtics last night and now head into what should be a very busy offseason. Philadelphia will have a smidge over $30 million in cap space and will be one of, if not the only, team that's contending for the playoffs with a max contract space available. Putting aside free agency, the team has a lot of parts that also need to be worked on during the summer.
Soon to be Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons needs to hit the gym this summer and come into next season with at least a reliable mid range jump shot. If you watched the Boston series, Brad Stevens effectively neutered Simmons' offensive game by simply clogging the paint. During the entire season most of his shots came from within 0-3 feet of the basket, the problem is that teams will quickly start to adjust next year. If Ben could extend his game out to even the 10-16 foot mark, where he took only 17% of all his field goals this season, he'd become an even greater threat. While I think he'll eventually need to be able to hit an occasional three, it'd be more beneficial if he had a mid range game first. Speaking of shooting, he needs to start hitting his free throws at a better clip than the 56% he did this season. I've written about it before and I still believe the key to better shooting for Ben are simple mechanical tweaks that shouldn't take long to perfect.
Hey look, another rookie who needs to spend all summer getting shots up in the gym. The world got a glimpse of what Fultz can do during the season, but he was buried on the bench for most of the post season. While there is no reason to worry yet for Markelle, he needs to start the 2018-2019 season with the jumper he had in college. The emergence and pending payday of TJ McConnell is the only reason to rush Fultz development. This offseason will be a test to see how patient the 76ers are with what should've been an immediate NBA ready guard.
Philadelphia may actually win the first overall pick in the NBA Draft, the chance is only 1.1% but it's possible. Thanks to the Lakers and their rather poor trades years ago, LA's own lottery bound draft pick will go to Philadelphia if it's the 1st overall pick or lands between 6-30; Boston will get the pick if it lands 2-5. It will be amazing to see what Philadelphia does with the Lakers pick if they get it no matter where it lands. The draft is full of very talented big men, a possible superstar wing in Porter, and an oversized guard in Luka Doncic. If the 76ers decide to trade the pick, the possibilities are endless. This draft will be a gold mine for Philly even without factoring in the Lakers pick as they have their own pick and three second rounders to throw around.
As I noted in the beginning, the 76ers will have a smidge over $30 million in cap space available to use. Of course we've all heard of the Lebron rumors but I think even Philly knows that's not realistic nor should it be their “be all, end all” goal for free agency. The roster is set to have JJ Redick, Amir Johnson, Marco Belinelli, and Ersan Ilyasova become free agents; Of those 4 the key players that they need to keep are JJ and Ersan. The ideal roster to build around Simmons and Embiid is one that can shoot the 3 and space the floor. With Robert Covington locked down for years to come they have their 3 and D guy, hopefully Fultz can become another floor spacing guard, and Dario Saric is a threat from deep as well. Looking at the soon to be NBA free agents, there are some interesting choices out there: Avery Bradley could be a cheaper younger Redick replacement, Rodney Hood may be a younger Belinelli, Kentavious Caldwell Pope could be the second coming of Lou Will. The options are there and truly endless if Philly doesn't want to chase a star, if they do Paul George is an option.