1. Ish Smith: Sign or decline? (Unrestricted free agent)
Eric Goldwein: I think Smith could be a solid backup point guard, and if they can get him for cheap (2 yr/$3M), then I’m all for it. But players like him are easy to find. (Case in point: Ish Smith). The show he’s put on the last few weeks might lead to him landing a sizeable payday, and with the Sixers already having Canaan, Wroten, draft picks, plus potentially Jordan McRae, and others, they’d be better off preserving their cap space.
Xylon Dimoff: Depends on what happens in the draft. If the Sixers end up taking (please, Hinkie, come on, seriously) D’Angelo Russell, I don’t see where Ish will find minutes in the backcourt, especially with Pierre Jackson’s cryptic tweets looming in the background. And while I see neither Ish nor Isaiah Canaan as long-term pieces on this team, I’d give a slight edge to Canaan for next season because Ish is already 26 and we can rightfully assume that he’ll never find his jumper.
Ben Smolen: I admit it. When the Sixers brought Ish Smith in, I had no idea who he was. I didn’t think to myself “Hey, this Ish Smith guy could be a pretty good add;” I thought, “Hey this Ish Smith guy has a really fun name.” But he’s shown some shocking levels of competency since he’s been here. Ish Smith is not the future, but he could be a totally viable bench player on a good team. I would like to see him signed for a low money two year deal.
Drew Stone: Decline, but this was the toughest one to call. Smith is probably a more well-rounded point guard than Canaan, and he’s shown flashes lately that his ceiling is something like a poor man’s Jeff Teague. But with Wroten coming back, Canaan’s three-point shooting and measly contract, and the ever-tantalizing prospect of D’Angelo Russell, it’s hard to justify keeping Ish the Dish (trademarked).
Bryan Toporek: I’m all for re-signing him on a short-term deal, so long as he’s not the team’s starting point guard come October. Something like a two-year, $4 million contract with a second-year team option sounds reasonable. Guaranteeing any money past the 2015-16 season would give me pause, though, especially with Pierre Jackson likely coming back to the team next year.
2. Thomas Robinson: Sign or decline? (Unrestricted free agent)
Goldwein: Decline. Robinson could be a productive, 15/20-minute per game high-energy player, but there might be a decent sized bidding war for him, and if that happens, the Sixers would be better off avoiding it. I’d take him for the right price (3yr/$7M); I just don’t see that being an option.
Dimoff: Sign. Even if Philly opts to go big in the draft, I think we could definitely do worse than having T-Rob as the fourth big in the rotation. I wouldn’t give him anything more than one year/$2-3 million however, as he really hasn’t proved anything in this league yet and it would give him incentive to work at his offensive game.
Smolen: Pay this man (a reasonable amount of money). T-Rob may never be a superstar, but he was taken in the top 5 for a reason, and since he’s been in Philly, he has shown real upside–rich man’s Reggie Evans, anyone? I think something in the range of one year/$4 million would be enough to bring him back without getting in the way of any future plans. After another season, we can reassess and see if he can justify his original draft position.
Stone: Absolutely sign. With the cap set to explode, lock him up in the three year, nine million range before other teams even get ideas. The correlation between Robinson’s signing this year and the team winning more as of late is real, a product of the energy and heart he exhibits off the bench. It doesn’t hurt that the former fifth-overall pick gives his young teammates a nightly reminder of the effort that’s necessary if you’re going to survive in this league, regardless of where you were drafted.
Toporek: Would love him back on a one-year, $3-4 million “prove it” deal, as his aggressiveness on the glass alone would serve as a great learning opportunity for Nerlens and Embiid in practice. Here’s hoping T-Rob recognizes that he’s getting more opportunity in Philly than he did anywhere else and agrees to a short-term deal with no guaranteed money beyond next season.
3. Hollis Thompson: Sign or decline? ($947K non-guaranteed in 2015-16, $1.02M team option in 2016-17)
Goldwein: Sign. Yes, roster spots are valuable, and Hollis doesn’t have the highest ceiling. But he’s young, he’s cheap, he’s productive (leads the Sixers in 3pt at 39%!!), and he’s tradeable. You could do far worse for a backup.
Dimoff: Sign, although it’s close. The opportunities for the roster spots on this team are going to deteriorate rapidly next season, especially with the potential for the Sixers to own 13 percent of the first round in the draft this summer. But even if Hollis ends up just being the 12th man on this squad, he’s proved his worth as a floor spacer, one of the hardest-working guys on the team, and somebody who has earned Brett Brown’s trust.
Smolen: Let him go. Admittedly, I’ve never been the biggest Hollis fan, but I feel like at this point, we know exactly what he is: not good enough to be a real contributor on a playoff team. I’d prefer to not dedicate any further monies to ole Holliswood and instead see what else is out there. Maybe Brandon Davies again? Is it too late for Brandon Davies to come back?
Stone: If you don’t need the roster spot, I guess you bring him back. The price is certainly right. I’ve never been as sold on Holliswood’s long-term role with the team as some. He can get on a hot streak, and that’s nice but expendable. Put it this way: if they had dealt Hollis at the deadline for a 2032 second-rounder, my first thought would have been “wait, you can do that?” and my second thought would have been “I’m fine with that.”
Toporek: Sign. There’s something to be said about keeping moderately productive bench players around on dirt-cheap contracts. If nothing else, it frees Hinkie up to make a big splash in free agency whenever he decides to dip his toes in those waters, knowing the 10th/11th/12th man on the roster is already accounted for. Given the health issues that wiped out a good bit of his 2014-15 season, I’d like to see Hollis back for one more year, in hopes of him becoming RoCo’s “Splash Brother” in crime.
4. Henry Sims: Sign or decline? ($1.181M qualifying offer)
Goldwein: Decline. He’s been riding the bench the last few months, and that’s with Joel Embiid still out, and Furkan Aldemir still getting his feet wet. Let him go, and maybe in a few years they can get him back, equipped with a 3-point shot.
Dimoff: What a difference six months can make. I was ready to pronounce Hank as the third or fourth rotation big in the long-term at this season’s start, but his offense has been on a seesaw all year and watching him defend the pick-and-roll is like watching a car accident. He’s decent as a floor spacer and a passer at the center position, but I have a feeling this is the best he’ll ever be. Decline.
Smolen: Show him the door. I had hope for Sims at the end of last year, and he has shown some flashes of offensive potential throughout the season, but with Noel, Embiid, a potential first round pick, and Saric clogging up the front court for years to come, I think the dollars required to keep Sims would be better spent allocated somewhere else.
Stone: It’s been a good run, Henry. You knew how to knock down a wide open ten-foot jumper, and for that we’ll always be grateful. But all those DNP’s you’ve racked up recently are polite Brett Brown reminders that the Sixers have a gazillion draft picks this year, and they’re gonna need that roster spot.
Toporek: This depends largely on what the Sixers do in the draft. If they land a few promising bigs and don’t plan on stashing any of them abroad, they’ll have to let Sims walk. If they go heavy on guards and wings, however, the Sixers should throw the qualifying offer his way. If any other team comes out firing with a big offer (doubtful), it’s time to let him walk; otherwise, they can keep him around as a decent practice big man for one more year.
5. Luc Mbah a Moute: Sign or decline? (Unrestricted free agent)
Goldwein: Sign! I love his offensive/defensive versatility (he can be mediocre everywhere!) and his #veteraness. Continuity and leadership are important, and if the Sixers can sign (for cheap .. $2/5M?) a low maintenance player that provides those qualities, then I’m on board.
Dimoff: Sign, but that is only if he wants to stay. I enjoy watching Luc play basketball about as much as I enjoy changing a flat tire, but I’d really like him to be here for Embiid’s first season on the court. And with Jason Richardson unlikely to return, I guess it’d be nice to have LRMAM around as the team’s token #veteran.
Smolen: Sign! My first instinct was to say decline, simply to see what tsunami of false outrage would come Philly’s way for cutting ties with yet another “veteran leader.” That said, LRMAM’s relationship with Embiid is common knowledge. As long as the cost isn’t prohibitive, then you should absolutely do what you can do to keep the potential future of your franchise happy.
Stone: (The longest, most conflicted groan in human history.) Fine, two years, ten million-ish, with two conditions: 1.) He never takes another mid-range jumper in his life, professionally or otherwise. 2.) He promises to stop mentoring Embiid if Embiid starts looking like him. I like Luc – he’s a solid glue guy, both on and off the court – but man is he tough to watch sometimes.
Toporek: Assuming the whole “veteran mentor” storyline isn’t overblown, I’d re-sign LRMAM if for no other reason than to ease Joel Embiid’s transition into playing next season. It took Nerlens a few months to emerge as the world-crushing defensive dynamo that he’s become since the All-Star break. Given how quickly the “Is Embiid Fat?” stories escalated earlier this year, I’d want Mbah a Moute around to tell JoJo to tune out the haters if he starts out slowly, too. How much is that worth on the open market? Here’s hoping no one forces Hinkie’s hand too far.