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June 28, 2024

What they're saying: Could the Sixers sign Klay Thompson in free agency?

Rounding up some of the recent buzz about the Sixers as free agency nears.

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Klay Thompson 6.28.24 Darren Yamashita/USA TODAY Sports

Could Golden State Warriors icon Klay Thompson join the Sixers if he leaves the only NBA franchise he has ever known?

The 2024 NBA Draft has concluded, and now the league's free agency period is set to open in just over 48 hours. The Sixers are primed to have more cap space than any other NBA team should they choose to maximize their financial flexibility, and their pursuit of a third star to put next to Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey is well-documented.

Here is some of the latest buzz on what the Sixers' plans might be:

Could Klay Thompson join the Sixers?

Anthony Slater and Sam Amick | The Athletic

Klay Thompson — one of the single greatest three-point shooters in the history of basketball — has spent his entire career with the Golden State Warriors, winning four championship rings in the process. But it sounds increasingly likely that Thompson's time with Golden State is up, according to reporting from Slater and Amick:

"While the Warriors examine the feasibility of the George situation and explore the rest of their options around the league, they’ve left the future of a franchise legend off to the side and increased the risk of losing him. There remains no official contract offer and little contact between Thompson and the Warriors, league sources said, as the potential end of his 13-year run with the franchise becomes more plausible." [The Athletic]

For more than half a decade, many in the Sixers universe have dreamed of Embiid being able to draw a double-team and kick the ball out to Thompson for a clutch three. And that appears to be a scenario that is very much in play, as Slater and Amick reported that the Sixers have interest in the five-time All-Star.

There is no question that Thompson's world class shooting would give the Sixers' offense an extremely valuable dimension that it has not truly had since the departure of JJ Redick — who, of course, is now the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers — giving Embiid, Maxey and others much more space to operate.

However, Thompson, who turns 35 years old in February, is said to desire a deal that runs for at least three years, and given his reputation, the yearly cost of that deal will not be insignificant. For a player who offers very little creation for others and has seen his defensive production decline drastically as his athleticism has dissipated, is a three-year contract with an average annual value in the neighborhood of $25-$30 million worth it?

Jimmy Butler appears to be staying in Miami

Shams Charania | The Athletic

After Miami's early playoff exit, rumors began to swirl about Butler — who is eligible for a contract extension — hoping for the Heat to quickly approach him with an offer. But Heat President Pat Riley immediately casted serious doubt regarding that taking place with some scathing quotes about his team's franchise cornerstone.

Speculation regarding Miami trading Butler began to accelerate in recent weeks, and the Sixers seemed like a very natural fit given their cap space, desire for a star and Butler's relationship with Embiid.

On Wednesday, however, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Butler is now prepared to play out next season without an extension and then consider opting out of his deal before the 2025 offseason begins:

"His decision to play out next season commits him to Miami and clears up any notion of a trade demand due to the lack of an extension. Butler has an affinity for Miami and has wanted to stay with the Heat, league sources said." [The Athletic]

So, it appears Butler will not return to Philadelphia as a member of the Sixers -- at least not at any point in the near future.

Sixers sign unconventional prospect to Exhibit-10 deal

Jon Chepkevich | DraftExpress

After selecting Duke guard Jared McCain in the first round (No. 16 overall) and UCLA center Adem Bona in the second round (No. 41), the Sixers signed two undrafted free agents to two-way contracts: Kentucky wing Justin Edwards, a former five-star recruit who was born and raised in Philadelphia, and Memphis wing David Jones, a late bloomer who became one of the best scorers in the nation last season.

But they also signed their first Exhibit-10 contract of the summer on Thursday, agreeing to a deal with Max Fiedler, a 6-foot-11 big-man from Rice, according to a report from Jon Chepkevich.

For those who are unfamiliar with Exhibit-10 deals, you can think of them as training camp and G League contracts: a player who signs an E-10 contract is typically invited to training camp and offered a signing bonus of some kind should said player report to the team's G League affiliate. So in all likelihood, Fiedler will be with the Sixers for training camp and then begin the season with the Delaware Blue Coats.

Fiedler has an absolutely fascinating statistical profile, seemingly operating as a primary hub of offense despite his size. He averaged at least five assists per game in each of his last two collegiate seasons, but only took 6.6 field goal attempts per game during that span.

Fiedler will enter training camp looking to make an impression with his unique skillset, potentially aiming to be rewarded with the team's lone remaining two-way contract slot.

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