Where things stand for Sixers at backup point guard after series of free-agent deals

Noah Levick
·2 min read

Where things stand at backup PG for Sixers after series of free-agent deals originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

With all of the money the Sixers spent last offseason on Tobias Harris and Al Horford, they invested relatively little in the backup point guard position.

Trey Burke and Raul Neto both signed one-year contracts for the veteran’s minimum, and now that pair has reportedly agreed to deals outside of Philadelphia. Burke committed to re-signing with the Mavericks for three years and nearly $10 million, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, while Neto will sign a one-year contract with the Wizards, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Burke played himself into postseason minutes with Dallas after being waived by the Sixers in February to accommodate the additions of Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III. (Burks, by the way, agreed to a one-year, $6 million contract with the Knicks, per ESPN). Though Burke’s minutes in Philadelphia were irregular, in part because of his competition with Neto and in part because of his defensive deficiencies, he averaged 12.3 points for the Mavs in their first-round loss to the Clippers.

Neto stuck with the Sixers for the entirety of the season, posting 5.1 points and 1.8 assists per game, and was on the fringe of Brett Brown’s playoff rotation.

Perhaps more significantly for the Sixers, a high-level free agent backup point guard is reportedly off the board in D.J. Augustin, who Charania reports has agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract with the Bucks. The 33-year-old Augustin served as Markelle Fultz’s backup last year with the Magic. Though he had a down year from three-point range, he’s shot over 40 percent on catch-and-shoot threes in each of the last three seasons, is a quality pick-and-roll player and has a 4.0/1.5 career assist-to-turnover ratio.

With the Sixers currently limited to offering minimum contracts and the taxpayer’s mid-level exception, Augustin’s deal was out of their price range.

Shabazz Napier, Jeff Teague and Yogi Ferrell are among the free agents who remain unsigned as of early Saturday afternoon and would likely be affordable for the Sixers. The team does have several internal point guard options outside of Ben Simmons in Shake Milton, first-round pick Tyrese Maxey and new acquisition Seth Curry, but “combo guard” is the best way to label all of those players. 

Austin Rivers is a free agent who fits that same description, and perhaps his skill as a shot creator could help the Sixers. He of course has connections with head coach Doc Rivers (his father) and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey.

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