4. Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers are set to have a big offseason ahead of them. Three of their starters — J.J. Redick, Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler — are free agents, with the latter two being acquired via midseason trades that didn’t come cheap.
Sixers ownership seems more than willing to dive deep into the luxury tax in order to bring back Harris and Butler on max contracts. Having come within a few bounces of the Eastern Conference Finals, Philly has to be confident that with a full training camp together, it can improve on last season and compete for a championship.
Butler proved his worth as a go-to option at both ends of the floor. Harris was more complicated than that. A talented scorer, he averaged 18.2 points per game but didn’t seem to bring much consistency next to his more talented teammates.
More often than not, Harris was simply relegated to spot-up duties along the perimeter, allowed to create only when others gave their approval. It’s hard to blame him for being unable to flip a switch and produce only when called upon, but there’s a pecking order within Philly’s roster that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
That being said, would the Sixers rather invest $141 million into a fourth option, or give far less to a more complementary piece? Gay would find himself in a terrific spot surrounded by elite talent that would allow him to pick and choose when to attack.
Having shot 40.2 percent from beyond the arc this past season, he’d be the necessary floor-spacer for the likes of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. When those guys need a breather, Brett Brown can make sure to have Gay out on the court and have the offense run through a guy who’s still very capable of getting buckets.
Gay may have shown the ability to recover from a torn Achilles, but that doesn’t mean he is now indestructible. Slowly creeping upwards in age, the Sixers would surround him with some of his most talented teammates who would help ease whatever burden he may feel.
He’d be in place to compete for a championship with a role that would have him contribute on a nightly basis. Gay hasn’t had much postseason success in his career. His struggles would quickly change in Philly and could help balance out a roster that may be too top-heavy at the moment.