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July 11, 2024

5 Sixers thoughts: Paul Reed heads to Detroit, Tobias Harris bids farewell to Philadelphia and more

Sixers center Paul Reed was claimed on waivers by the Detroit Pistons, who signed former Sixers forward Tobias Harris earlier this month.

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Tobias Bball 7.10.24 Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports

Tobias Harris and Paul Reed will remain teammates as two of the newest members of the revamped Detroit Pistons.

As the dust begins to settle in the offseason for the Sixers -- and across the league -- let's take some stock on some under-the-radar storylines:

Sixers free agency primer: Literally everything you need to know

Paul Reed claimed by Detroit Pistons

The Sixers had to waive their prior backup center to get off his non-guaranteed salary and sign Caleb Martin to a four-year deal -- which was an easy pill to swallow because the team had also signed Andre Drummond to become Joel Embiid's new backup.

Reed was claimed earlier this week by the Detroit Pistons, meaning he will stay on his unusual contract for now. Reed's complex deal has two years and about $15 million total remaining, but neither season's salary will become guaranteed until the second week of January in that particular campaign.

This was a total no-brainer for the Pistons, one of only two teams who still have cap space following the first week and change of free agency. They can either attempt to develop Reed's game further -- his current standing as a viable backup center with outstanding athletic tools is a strong starting point -- or look to dangle him as a trade asset (the Sixers were likely never going to extract genuine value for him in a trade while operating in a severe time crunch with zero negotiating leverage). The absolute worst case scenario for the Pistons is that they simply waive Reed themselves and incur zero financial penalty for their troubles.

Reed heading to Detroit means that he will once again share a locker room with Tobias Harris, who he has been teammates with for the entirety of his career to date.

Tobias Harris says goodbye to Philadelphia

Speaking of Harris, his two-year, $52 million contract with the Pistons became official earlier this week. On Wednesday, Harris posted a goodbye message to Sixers fans and the city of Philadelphia on his Instagram account:

"May the future bring you everything you deserve and desire," Harris wrote.

A wrinkle in Eric Gordon's contract

It is not breaking news that the deal the Sixers struck with Gordon at the start of NBA free agency is a veteran's minimum deal. But a new detail on the deal trickled out Wednesday afternoon, when Mike Scotto of HoopsHype reported that the deal contains a player option for 2025-26.

Gordon's option is projected to be worth $3,468,960 -- a five percent raise from Gordon's minimum salary in 2024-25 -- which really presents no long-term risk to the Sixers. Even if Gordon were to opt in next summer and the Sixers viewed him as unsuitable for their roster -- which seems extremely unlikely in itself -- the team could shed his salary rather easily.

One path would be to use the "waive and stretch" provision, which would allow the Sixers to spread out Gordon's cap hit evenly across three years. That yearly cap hit of $1,156,320 would be below the rookie minimum.

Ultimately, the refined terms of Gordon's agreement with the Sixers will likely not be all that consequential.

Remembering an iconic Sixers moment

A few days ago, I came across a video on Twitter of former NBA wing Corey Brewer knocking down a game-winning shot in the BIG3 league filled with retired NBA veterans. 

Brewer, who is now a player development coach for the New Orleans Pelicans, played seven games for the Sixers during the 2018-19 season, and they were absolutely glorious. His spot start against the Houston Rockets -- in which he was tasked with defending James Harden near the peak of his powers -- will live in Sixers lore forever.

Brewer guarded Harden across every inch of the floor -- including hilariously face-guarding Harden while he was on the ground in the backcourt and drawing an offensive foul in the same area of the floor.

Brewer's brief cameo in Philadelphia is one of the most memorable stints by an unheralded player in recent Sixers history. I have attended hundreds of Sixers games in South Philadelphia, and only a few have ever been as loud as this January regular season game.

A fun exercise

Much has been made in recent years about the frequency with which Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey has acquired players in Philadelphia who he also acquired when he was General Manager of the Houston Rockets, with the Gordon deal being the most recent example.

Sam DiGiovanni, who covers the Sixers for ClutchPoints, had the idea to put together a Sporcle quiz. Can you guess all 11 players Morey has acquired for both the Sixers and Rockets?

The last name on the list will be the hardest to remember -- if you get that one, you have earned my respect.

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