Philadelphia 76ers: Filip Petrusev has a golden opportunity in 2023-24

Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia 76ers currently have 19 players under contract, 17 on one-way deals, and two more, Julian Champagnie and Charlie Brown Jr., signed to two-way deals.

That, obviously, is one too many players.

Now granted, one of those 19 players, Michael Foster Jr., is signed to an Exhibit 10 contract, which basically secures his G-League rights if he doesn’t get signed elsewhere should he be released coming out of training camp, and after a strong summer, he very well may end up giving Champagnie a run for his money for the two-way deal opposite CBJ, but barring a two-for-one trade or something even more expansive, someone is going to have their dream either outright dashed or at least severely altered coming out of camp.

Factor in the potential to make some trades to free up roster spots and the fact that four players: Isaiah Joe, Paul Reed, Trevelin Queen, and Charles Bassey are all on non-guaranteed contracts, and it shouldn’t be too tough for Daryl Morey to slim his roster down to 15 normal contracts and two more on two-ways.

With that being said, there’s one player we know won’t be on the Sixers’ roster this fall; a player who was actually drafted higher than Foster, CBJ, and Trevelin Queen: Filip Petrusev. That’s right, despite expressing an interest in playing in the NBA this season and showing some solid efforts late in the Summer League, the former Gonzaga prospect is returning to Europe to play for the Crvena Zvezda, according to Cody Taylor of USA Today’s The Rookie Wire.

A bummer for Petrusev? Most assuredly, but hey, from the Philadelphia 76ers’ perspective, giving the 22-year-old another season to play big minutes for a premier European team is far from the worst-case scenario.

Filip Petrusev has a better chance to make the Philadelphia 76ers in 2023-24.

As things presently stand, the Philadelphia 76ers only have 10 players under contract for the 2023-24 NBA season: Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, P.J. Tucker, De’Anthony Melton, Furkan Korkmaz, Tyrese Maxey, Danuel House, Jaden Springer, Trevelin Queen, and Charles Bassey. Now granted, James Harden could theoretically be on the team too, as he is expected to sign a one-plus-one at some point in the not-too-distant future, but as things presently stand, Matisse Thybulle, Georges Niang, Isaiah Joe, Paul Reed, Shake Milton, and both of the team’s two-way players are set to become either restricted or unrestricted free agents.

All things considered, that isn’t all that alarming; the Sixers entered the 2022 NBA offseason with two open roster spots after saying goodbye to Paul Millsap and DeAndre Jordan in free agency, and they were easily able to fill them with four new players signed to one-way contracts. But with the team projected to be over the cap yet again in the summer of 2023, the team will once again find themselves with few opportunities to fill out their rotation, with just the (presumably) taxpayer mid-level exception and veteran minimum deal on the table.

Fortunately, even without a first-round pick, as it has already been traded to the Brooklyn Nets and then re-routed to the Utah Jazz for Royce O’Neal, the ability to bring over a then-23-year-old Filip Petrusev on as long as a four-year, rookie minimum deal, the Sixers can effectively look at the 6-foot-10 sharpshooting forward as a pre-selected draft selection in their back pocket, with the potential to slot right in as a bottom-of-the-roster reserve who can work his way into the rotation with each passing season.

All things considered, that isn’t too bad of a deal for the former Adriatic League MVP, as he gets to ball out for another regular season before shipping back to the states to properly compete for an NBA contract.

For Isaiah Joe, making the team is only step one. dark. Next

Will Filip Petrusev ultimately make the Philadelphia 76ers’ roster at some point down the line and become a player alongside Joel Embiid and company? Only time will tell; Bryan Colangelo traded up to select Anžejs Pasečņiks with pick 25 in the 2017 NBA Draft, and he ultimately made his first NBA roster as a member of the Washington Wizards after his rights were renounced in 2019. Still, after a limited preview with the Summer League Sixers this, um, summer, it’ll be nice to see Petrusev earn a larger look when the forthcoming season comes to an end, as his game is definitely of NBA caliber.