The Philadelphia 76ers are unquestionably a rebuilding team primed to optimize their lottery odds for the 2014 NBA Draft, but that doesn't mean general manager Sam Hinkie isn't actively combing the free agent market for a good deal or two heading into the season. Hinkie opted to maintain financial flexibility and avoid a big free agent splash early in the offseason, but there are still holes to fill on the roster.
Rookie first-round pick Michael Carter-Williams is perhaps the only true point guard on the current roster, and the backcourt situation is shaky at best. Hinkie admitted to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he has a bit of shopping to do before the season starts:
"We have needs all around," Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie said. "We are going to look for guys who can be a part of our future and have a chance, some guys who can grow with our team."
"We can be flexible," Hinkie said of free agency. "We have lots of guys that can play several different positions. . . . So we will move guys around if we find people that we think we can feel comfortable with."
Philadelphia was recently ranked the worst team in the NBA heading into the upcoming season by SB Nation bloggers, but that is essentially an expression of Hinkie's plan. Keep the books clean, develop young players, optimize draft position and build for the future. That's why despite their lack of depth in the frontcourt, the team still may look to buy out the contract of Kwame Brown.
The list of available free agents is uninspiring, but the Sixers aren't looking to make any short-term gains at the expense of long-term flexibility. Royal Ivey and Damien Wilkins could be brought back, while Pompey mentions retreads like Ronnie Brewer, Luke Babbit, Xavier Henry and Cole Aldrich as other options for the Sixers. Yuck.
Most of the top players have already signed with rival teams, but Hinkie doesn't seem worried:
"It's a little early now," Hinkie said. "There's a lot of work to do for the team to be filled out. You could see all sorts of things happening."
Hinkie also has the option to reshape the roster by trading Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner, so there could be more changes to the Sixers' rotation if the right offer comes along this summer. It's not a sexy offseason plan, but Philadelphia is clearly focused on building a better future through the draft. Now all they have to do is wait.