Happy Monday, folks!

Let me begin with a well-deserved shout-out to Marc Narducci, who after more than 37 years at The Inquirer accepted a buyout at the end of July. I spent most of Sunday thinking about how he’s going to be missed at the Inky and on the Sixers beat.

I’ve never met anyone who was so beloved or worked harder than Narducci. There were times when he wrote a high school feature, attended a Temple media availability and covered a Sixers game all in the same day. I’m still kind of in disbelief that he’s no longer my sidekick on the beat. It was a pleasure to work alongside him.

That leads to this newsletter that you have signed up to get in your inbox every Monday during the offseason. I have big shoes to fill in what turned into his baby.

If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up here. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers. Thank you for reading.

— Keith Pompey (offthedribble@inquirer.com)

New-look Sixers?

It’s tough to say what roster adjustments the 76ers must make to win the 2022 NBA title until Ben Simmons’ fate is determined.

Will they be able to acquire an All-Star-caliber player to mesh with Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris in an expected trade involving Simmons? The Sixers will have a better idea of the type of veteran acquisition they will need once they know the position of the player they get back. For instance, they wouldn’t need a standout point guard if they acquire Dame Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers.

But Simmons isn’t the only Sixer who might have played his last game for the organization.

Danny Green, Furkan Korkmaz, Dwight Howard, and Mike Scott are all free agents. George Hill’s contract is partially guaranteed for the 2021-22 season for $1.27 million until Tuesday, when it will become fully guaranteed if he is not waived before then.

For the most part, the players and the team will have options when free agency begins at 6 p.m. today.

The Sixers know they’ll have a lot of holes to fill, especially if Simmons is no longer on the roster. He was the starting point guard, backup power forward, and small-ball center.

Starting five

Mike Sielski writes that Simmons is still here, and Daryl Morey has yet to make a splash with the Sixers. The clock ticks.

Narducci writes that Sixers second-round pick Charles Bassey is willing to show he has a shot.

Keith Pompey writes that new Sixers guard Jaden Springer’s ties to the team and the city of Philadelphia run deep.

Pompey also profiles Springer, who’s getting to live his dream.

Narducci grades the Sixers’ draft picks.

Kyle Lowry might be bound for Miami

It looks as if Kyle Lowry might be on his way to playing with good friend Jimmy Butler in Miami instead of playing with his hometown 76ers.

The free-agent point guard’s asking price is $90 million over three years. The Heat made him their top priority and cleared some cap space Sunday to go after the six-time All-Star. Miami picked up Goran Dragic’s $19.4 million team option. But the Heat are open to dealing Dragic in a sign-and-trade with the Toronto Raptors for Lowry.

Lowry, a North Philly native, also could land in New Orleans or Dallas.

The Sixers were interested in acquiring him in a sign-and-trade.

Important dates

Today: Teams may begin negotiating with free agents (6 p.m.).

Friday: Teams may begin signing free agents (12:01 p.m.).

Aug. 9: Sixers vs. Dallas Mavericks in MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas at 4 p.m., NBATV

Aug. 12: Sixers vs. Atlanta Hawks in MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas at 9 p.m., ESPN

Aug. 14: Sixers vs. Boston Celtics in MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas at 5 p.m., NBATV

Passing the rock

Send questions by email or on Twitter (@PompeyOnSixers)

Question: Wouldn’t it be smarter to slow down and not rush this Ben Simmons trade? He always shines during the regular season and he knows he has to be better because the world is watching. Give him until the trade deadline to up his value as much as possible and we will be benefit. — @MRLOUDPACKs on Twitter.

Answer: Thanks for the question, man. His value won’t rise regardless of what he does in the regular season. As you wrote, “he always shines during the regular season.” The problem is he struggles in the second round of the playoffs when teams go to the Hack-a-Ben tactic, sag off him more, and do better jobs of building walls.

Teams know he’s going to dominate the regular season. Now, if he doesn’t dominate the regular season, his trade value will continue to go down. That’s why it’s in Simmons’ and the Sixers’ best interest to trade him before the start of the season.