The Philadelphia 76ers should have serious Marco Belinelli seller’s remorse

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Over the summer, the Philadelphia 76ers let their best bench scorer walk in free agency to sign a bargain bin deal with the Spurs. Marco Belinelli, we miss you.

The Philadelphia 76ers had the worst offseason of any team in the NBA.

I know that’s a bold claim, but when you dive into the X’s and O’s, it’s hard to dispute.

By my estimation, the Sixers made two good moves, three neutral moves and four very bad moves that would have set the team back from even matching last season’s win total pre-Jimmy Butler trade.

The Good:

  1. Re-signing J.J. Redick, even if it was only on a one-year deal.
  2. Stealing Landry Shamet with the 26th overall pick.

The Neutral:

  1. Trading basically nothing for Wilson Chandler.
  2. Re-signing Amir Johnson on the cheap.
  3. Trading Justin Anderson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot for Mike Muscala.

The Bad:

  1. Trading Mikal Bridges, the NBA’s rookie steals leader, to the Phoenix Suns for Zhaire Smith.
  2. Letting Ersan Ilyasova walk in free agency.
  3. Not immediately replacing Bryan Colangelo.
  4. And quite possibly the worst mistake of all… allowing Marco Belinelli to sign with the San Antonio Spurs.

Now at the time, the decision to move on from Belinelli was suspicious but understandable.

More from Philadelphia 76ers

Brett Brown‘s Sixers were preparing for the draft and on the market for a big name free agent, so re-signing a player like Belinelli on the cheap wasn’t exactly high on the team’s wish list.

And after the team secured a pair of cheap prospect shooters in the 2018 NBA Draft in Shamet and Shake Milton, it’s understandable that the 76ers assumed they could turn their eyes to securing another star, but after LeBron signed with the Lakers, Paul George remained in Oklahoma City, and Kawhi Leonard was dealt to the Raptors, the team was left with money to spend and Belinelli was a San Antonio Spur.

The price? $12 million over 2-years.

So, to save $6 million a year, less than what the team was paying Jerryd Bayless pre-Butler trade, the Sixers allowed their second-best pure shooter, a man who effectively made a name for himself for his ability to shoot from literally anywhere, to walk for free.

Remember these?

Now, the team’s decision to move on from Ilyasova wasn’t exactly great either, as the team has reportedly been on the lookout for a spot-up shooting big man to help stretch the floor, but after signing a 3-year, $21 million deal to join the Milwaukee Bucks, it makes sense.

Moving on from Belinelli for a contract with one year less year worth 40-percent less money, on the other hand, simply does not make sense.

And worst of all? Belinelli is playing great in San Antonio.

Now granted, he’s no Manu Ginobili, but Belinelli has settled into that role reasonably well for his new (old?) team, averaging almost 10 points a game in 22 minutes of action a night.

On the Sixers, that production would have ranked fifth, right above Shamet but below Simmons.

However, at the time, that wasn’t really the Sixers’ concern.

If you recall, The team actually started J.J. Redick out on the bench this season, in an attempt to bolster Markelle Fultz‘s confidence with a starting role. While this move ended horrendously if the team initially believed that Redick was going to be their Sixth Man, it makes some sense not to resign Belinelli.

Shamet, Redick, and Belinelli all fill similar roles and having all three of them fighting for bench minutes would have been tough. But when you elevate Redick to the starting five, it would have been much easier to spread out minutes between Belinelli and Shamet, who can also play some point guard.

Would Belinelli have helped the team’s defensive rating against opposing point guards? No, in actuality he may have made them worse, but he certainly would have helped to fortify their auxiliary shooting, which is a big reason why the team won 15 straight to close out the 2018-18 season.

With Kyle Korver no longer on the trade market after being shipped to Utah, and only a few other certified Sharpshooters available the Sixers are going to have to get creative when it comes to adding an extra shooter to their roster. Had they merely opted to retain Belinelli and sign him to a 2-year deal worth $12 million, that wouldn’t be the case, as they would already have one of the most creative shooters in the league on their roster.

Next. Kyle Korver would have been a net loss in Philly. dark

Do you think the Spurs would give him back if Brett Brown asked nicely?