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July 24, 2019

Furkan Korkmaz returns to Sixers on two-year minimum deal

Sixers wing Furkan Korkmaz is returning to the team on a two-year deal, a source confirmed to PhillyVoice on Wednesday morning. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report Korkmaz was returning to Philadelphia.

The deal is a minimum deal for the first year of the deal that will be guaranteed, while the second year of the contract has a trigger date of July 10, 2020, in order to become guaranteed, a source told PhillyVoice.

It's a move that comes as a bit of a surprise on several fronts, starting with their decline of Korkmaz's option last fall. While that move had salary cap implications in mind (every dollar ended up being pretty important this summer), it was also their best assessment of what his future looked like at the time.

Philadelphia's focus in free agency has also been decidedly on veteran contributors as they've filled out their roster around their stars. The team had shown an interest in bringing in sharpshooter Kyle Korver before he ultimately signed with the Milwaukee Bucks, and Korkmaz is far to the other end of the experience and production spectrum. 

There were also questions about Korkmaz's interest in remaining in the NBA at all earlier this offseason, with reports claiming he'd accepted an offer to return to his home country of Turkey to continue his professional career. But his representation never offered a comment on the matter when contacted by PhillyVoice this summer, and it appears Korkmaz's primary interest was fighting to keep his place in the NBA.

The theoretical version of Korkmaz is a great fit for what Philadelphia needs, but the problem is he has mostly been a theoretical player to date. He has a reputation as a shooter without the production to back it up, caveats about small samples aside, and his inability to check NBA athletes defensively has left him without much of a role to speak of to date.

On the other hand, he's a player familiar with Philadelphia's system and culture who will most likely be happy to play his role as an end-of-bench guy and situational player, which may not be the case for many of the guys left on the free-agent market. Korkmaz turned 22 today (how's that for timing?) and in theory still has years of physical, mental, and skill development left ahead of him, so perhaps the Sixers can tap into the upside they once believed he had.

At the very least, it adds more movable salary in potential trades, though a minimum deal for a player with two years of experience is just $1.62 million next season, so that will only matter in the event that the Sixers need to squeeze money in order to make a bigger move happen.

It's a low-move, though ultimately it's tough to see this one moving the needle much one way or another.

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