Over the past few weeks, the NBA Trade Deadline has come and gone, which means the buy-out market is in full swing.
A quick summarize what the buy-out market would be essentially early free agency. Teams and players who were unable to part ways via the Trade Deadline will work together financially to release the player from their contract making them a free agent during the middle of the season. The reason for a buy-out could be a player’s frustration with the franchise or the team simply looking to move on from the player. Some of the bigger names to hit the buy-out market this season include Andre Drummond who later signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Blake Griffin, both of whom signed with the Brooklyn Nets. Today, we can look at why the Sixers haven’t been active like some of the other top competitors in the NBA.
Let’s first examine why these players choose these teams. When the players enter this “mid-season free agency,” they’ll essentially sign veteran minimum deals to join the top contending teams. They sign smaller deals because they have already made plenty from the team they were bought-out from, and they will sign for anything to play for a contender. This is what we’ve come to know as “ring chasing.” And while the Sixers haven’t signed any of the players who have been bought out already, we cannot fault these players for choosing top contenders. Looking just at the three big name players mentioned previously, none have sniffed an NBA Championship in their careers to this point and therefore, want to choose a destination they believe can get them there this season. As for the teams, these contenders will kick the tires on players who can contribute to their team in any way because they can afford it, and because if it doesn’t work, they won’t play. It’s seemingly a win-win for both the player and the contending team. So why haven’t the Sixers signed one of these bought-out players?
A similar question can be applied as to why the Sixers chose to only make one move at the Trade Deadline to sure up perimeter shooting and ball-handling. The Sixers could have made more trades just like they could pursue these buy-outs. They aren’t doing so because of the current lineup and the availability of playing time. The Sixers managed to hold the number one seed in the Eastern Conference for majority of the season thus far. Bringing in a player like Aldridge or Griffin who would demand minutes and only marginally, if at all, improve the team can throw off the entire system. Furthermore, a player like Drummond has no fit on the Sixers. Joel Embiid is the starting center who only comes off for rest, and Dwight Howard has proven himself to be more than capable as the backup center. Drummond wouldn’t be able to play the four and therefore would never be signed by the Sixers.
As fans of the Sixers, it does get exhausting to hear that another big name player has been bought out because we can instantly assume they will be signing with a team like the Nets, Bucks, Lakers, or Clippers. However, with the roster as it is currently constructed, the team has held its own with the top teams in the NBA. And the Sixers could still pursue talent should they be bought out. A position such as the backup power forward could be sure up or a wing shooters could still be acquired. However, even if the Sixers stay put, the team is still talented enough to make a deep playoff run.
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