Barring a blockbuster trade of one of the 76ers on a max contract, the team will have to improve for relatively cheap this offseason if they want to contend for a title next season.

This summer’s class of free agents is low on big names but has a solid selection of players who are either in a position to take a pay cut or the Sixers would be able to develop. While I don’t think Elton Brand will be overly active in the free-agent market as he was last summer, it’s worth pondering the options, and maybe he’ll strike it rich.

Here are three players that could make a lot of sense for the Sixers to add this summer.

Photo: Wendell Cruz / USA TODAY SPORTS

Jerami Grant, SF/PF

Denver Nuggets – Current Contract: 3-yr/$27M

If you don’t remember, the 76ers actually took Grant with the 39th overall pick back in 2014. Playing for the “Process” era 76ers, he actually played a significant role on the team during his first three years as a pro. But like all good players during the Process, he was traded away to Oklahoma City in 2016 for a first-round pick in the 2020 draft (we are finally seeing the fruits of our labor.) 

Now, before we get into Grant as a player, what would make this signing unfeasible is that Grant has a 9M player option in his contract on 2020-21. He’s currently playing an important supporting role for a contender in the Denver Nuggets. That being said, he’s still young and probably not yet in the position to take a pay cut to stay in a good basketball situation. 

There will surely be interest around the league in a 6’8” forward who shoots 40% from three. Two seasons ago, he boasted the league’s 5th best defensive rating and averaged a block a game (this sounds unimpressive but only 30 players each year average at least 1 block per game.) He’s still only 26 and will be looking for a multi-year deal, so if Elton Brand can offer a little more money than other teams and promise a main role and title contention, it would be a hard offer to pass on.

Rodney Hood, SG

Portland Trail Blazers – Current Contract: 2-yr/$11.72M

Hood has jumped around the league in his 6-year NBA career. He tried unsuccessfully to help Lebron in his quest for a second championship in Cleveland, ultimately leading to LeBron’s departure to Los Angeles. Hood seems to have found a home in Portland, at least for now.

Everyone knows that Hood’s claim to fame is shooting. It’s why he’s in the league. He’s below average at pretty much everything else at the NBA level. He’s mastered the fallaway jumper and the stepback both from mid-range and from three.

He’s the type of player the 76ers like, a guy the head coach can check in from the bench to fill a specific need on the floor, even if he can’t fill all of them.

Like Grant, Hood has a $6 mil option to remain with Portland next year, where he is well-liked by his teammates and the coaching staff. If Philadelphia really wants him, they will have to make a fairly significant investment in him. I’d assume he’d be looking for around 10M for an outside offer. It’s well-known what he can do, so it would be a low-risk signing for a 76ers team that desperately needs shooting.

Washington Wizards v Utah Jazz
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Shabazz Napier, PG

Washington Wizards – Current Contract: 2-yr/$3.78M

I stated in my last article that back up point guard is an issue that could easily be addressed through the draft, but Elton Brand may decide otherwise. Napier hasn’t done much in his stints with Minnesota and Washington this season to necessitate a pay-raise, so all Elton Brand would have to do to acquire Napier would be to outbid the rest of the small market for Napier. 

Napier is still an able scorer off the bench at the NBA level, which is especially impressive at 6’0”. Everyone remembers the long list of awards Napier won at UCONN, capped off by a national championship. He’s had a passable 3-point stroke since college (34.6% career) and possesses the Kemba Walker-like attitude about driving into the paint against much taller players.

While he’s improved only marginally over his 6-year career, this season has easily been his best as a pro. He’s putting up an impressive 12.0 PPG and you’re likely to find a few jaw-dropping dimes on his highlight real. The question remains: How much is Brand willing to bid to bring in a veteran backup PG like Napier?

Which members of the 2020 free agent class do you think the Sixers should bring in?

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