Philadelphia 76ers: Brett Brown wasted max salary space

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

With a small fortune of money to play with going into free agency, Philadelphia 76ers interim GM Brett Brown has spoiled his riches.

When the Philadelphia 76ers failed to sign LeBron James and Paul George over the weekend, the franchise’s fans had to know free agency was going to be somewhat of a let down this summer, but boy could anyone have imagined it going this poorly?

Now don’t get me wrong, the decision to bring back J.J. Redick on a one-year deal was very smart, as he was easily one of their top three most important players last year, averaging 17.1 points per game while knocking down 42 percent of his shots from 3-point range, but outside of his addition what has Philly even spent their money on this summer?

Wilson Chandler, a 31-year-old combo forward with a 35 percent career 3-point shooter who lacks the speed to switch off in Brett Brown‘s switch heavy scheme, Nemanja Bjelica, a 6-foot-10 30 year old power forward who’s never averaged more than three 3-point shots in a season, and also lacks versatility to guard multiple positions, and Amir Johnson, a solid spot-up starter, who’s best basketball days are firmly behind him.

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Just out of curiosity, does anyone actually think that’s a better team than last year’s squad?

While it seemed unlikely at best that Philly would resign Marco Belinelli or Ersan Ilyasova, wouldn’t it have been smart to replace the team’s two best bench scorers with even better shooters like Wayne Ellington or Jamal Crawford, as opposed to settling for incompatible frontcourt forwards who are at best curious fits alongside Ben Simmons?

And what about building for the future?

Even after signing Redick to a one-year $12-13 million deal, the team still had plenty of money to put in offers on restricted free agents like Marcus Smart or Jabari Parker, but instead, Brown decided to take on Chandler to help the Denver Nuggets get under the salary cap, effectively trading away the opportunity to add a young, ascending player to their roster for a future second-round pick. With the Sixers’ quartet of additions all already over the age of 30, it’s hard to imagine any of these players sticking around past the season, let alone developing their game any further.

No, for the low low price of a future second-round pick, GM Brown effectively traded away the team’s chance to adding young, ascending talent to the team’s roster, in a move that would have also effectively weakened one of their arch foes in the process. Why?

While I have to applaud the team for sticking to their laurels and only signing players to one-year deals once the two max-worthy players went off the board, as getting locked into a long-term deal with a risky player like Zach Lavine could have been disastrous to their cap flexibility, why not take some risks on a player who still has room to grow when you have arguably the best player development coach in the league running the show?

At this point, it’s fair to wonder if the team’s decision not to hire a GM before the draft was the right choice.

Next: With James gone, is Jabari Parker worth the risk?

Though this could all be for naught, and these veteran additions could help to push one of the league’s best young rosters over the top, Philly fans will now have to watch players like George, James, Parker, Smart, and the team’s original 10th overall pick Mikal Bridges excel elsewhere this season and forever wonder what Philly would be like if they would have landed any of these top-tier talents. Would David Griffin have delivered an underwhelming haul like this? Doubtful.