Philadelphia 76ers: 3 potential Summer Olympics MLE signees to watch

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia 76ers
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Patty Mills – Team Australia

Boy oh boy, has anyone generated more hype during the initial run of pre-Olympics basketball than the pride of Canberra, Patty Mills? As Brian Windhorst once pointed out on his podcast, every four years, Mills transforms into a 6-foot-1 version of Steve Nash in a Boomers jersey, and honestly, that comp is as creative as it is accurate.

Facing off against a stacked Team USA squad in a Las Vegas exhibition game, Mills led a squad featuring fellow NBA players like Joe Ingles, Dante Exum, and Philly’s favorite former sports vlogger, Matisse Thybulle right past the presumptive favorites to win gold later this summer by a score of 91-83. Serving as a consistent starting point guard for the first time since, well, his last run with Team Australia, Mills finished out the game tied with Damian Lillard for the most points scored at 22.

And the best part? Mills just finished out a four-year, $48 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs and is likely looking to take his talents to a championship contender for the first time since the 2016-17 season.

Do you know who could use a speedy, knockdown shooter sixth man coming off the bench who will cost a whole lot less to acquire than Collin Sexton (more on that here)? Yeah, that’d be your friendly neighborhood Philadelphia 76ers.

Now for years, the idea of landing Mills via trade or buyout was incredibly attractive to fans in Philly due to his connection with Brett Brown, who did some coaching with the Australian National team and even saw their respective times in San Antonio overlap from 2011-13. While a Down Under reunion with Brown alongside fellow national team members Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle is now out of the cards, especially if the former and/or the latter is moved this offseason, Mills could still serve as a viable bench scorer a la Lou Williams with Doc Rivers’ Clippers and provide the sort of sparkplug energy the team desperately needed during the 2021 NBA playoffs.

And the best, best part? Patty Mills and Matise Thybulle already look like good friends, as you’ll see in his 2021 pre-Olympics blog (check that out here).