After another underwhelming conclusion to a once-promising campaign, the Philadelphia 76ers entered the offseason facing a plethora of questions. The biggest question was answered when the team hired Nick Nurse as head coach following the dismissal of Doc Rivers, but the team still have plenty of roster-related decisions to make this summer.
With the 2023 NBA Draft and free agency looming, here's a look at where the Sixers stand on several pressing topics.
1. Bringing back Harden is a priority
Re-signing James Harden remains the priority for the Sixers this offseason, and the team feels good about its chances of doing so internally, according to a league source with direct knowledge of the team's line of thinking. There's a chance that another team could look to get into the mix to land the former MVP, but at this point Philly's biggest competition for Harden's services comes in the form of the Houston Rockets. There are a lot of eyes on the Rockets heading into the draft and free agency as owner Tilman Fertitta looks to put his stamp on the franchise. Fertitta is said to be heavily focused on restoring winning culture in Houston, and the hiring of head coach Ime Udoka was seen as a step in that direction.
While Houston's interest in Harden is real, they could also look to go in a different direction and look to complement their promising young core with veterans with recent championship experience like Fred VanVleet and Brook Lopez. If the Rockets ultimately opt to throw an enormous bag at Harden to bring him back, then the Sixers will have to decide if they're willing to offer a similar deal. It might not come to that, though. Harden has maintained that he wants an opportunity to compete for a title at this point in his career, and the Sixers are in better position to do that than the Rockets.
2. Eyes on a second rounder
As it stands, the 76ers don't have a pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. However, that could change as they are very interested in acquiring a second-round pick. The team would prefer to purchase the pick, rather than trade for it, per the aforementioned league source. Finding such a deal shouldn't be too difficult for Philly, so there's a good chance they end up making a pick before the end of the draft.
3. No rush on potential Tobias trade
The 76ers aren't operating with urgency when it comes to a potential Tobias Harris trade. The team will consider all offers leading up to the draft, and could potentially move on one if it's attractive enough, but the team isn't in a rush to move off of Harris' expiring contract.
The way the Sixers see it, they have until the trade deadline in February to find a suitable deal for Harris, and there's a possibility that better offers could emerge closer to that deadline, as some teams will be eager to bolster their rosters for a playoff push, while others would be interested in adding an expiring salary. At this point in time, a Harris trade isn't the team's priority, and there's a legitimate chance that he could still be on Philadelphia's roster when the '23-24 season starts in October.
4. Who (else) is coming back?
The Sixers hope to bring back both Georges Niang and Paul Reed. Niang is an unrestricted free agent, while Paul Reed is a restricted free agent, which means that the Sixers will have the opportunity to match any outside offers. Niang was a reliable floor-spacer for the team last season, while Reed developed into a versatile, productive backup big man.
The Sixers are also interested in bringing back Jalen McDaniels after trading for him at the deadline in February -- at the right price. The market will likely dictate whether or not McDaniels remains in Philadelphia, and the possibility exists that he'll be able to secure a better deal elsewhere. Shake Milton, who is also an unrestricted free agent, doesn't seem to be in the team's long-term plans.
5. No interest in Fred VanVleet
The Sixers aren't expected to pursue guard Fred VanVleet in free agency. Given VanVleet's connection to new Sixers coach Nick Nurse from their time together in Toronto, some suggested that the team might look to bring him in. When it comes to guard play, Tyrese Maxey's continued development and bringing back Harden are the keys for Philly.