LAS VEGAS - The 76ers missed out on some targeted free agents, but they are working on signing the players they have.
Dario Saric, a 2014 draft acquisition, is expected to play for the Sixers this season. Gerald Henderson signed his contract Saturday. The Sixers are expected to sign Jerryd Bayless shortly. Meanwhile, Sergio Rodriguez must pass FIBA clearance and get bought out of his contract before he's able to sign.
While all of that is taking shape, the team's prized addition got offensive Sunday in the NBA Summer League. Top pick Ben Simmons finished with 18 points, three rebounds, two assists, and three turnovers in Sunday's 83-70 loss to the Chicago Bulls at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Eight of his points came on four consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter. He scored on a dunk, followed by a reserve layup, a turnaround jumper, and a jump shot. The former Louisiana State standout missed a jumper while trying to score on a fifth straight possession.
"I was just focused on shooting the ball," Simmons said of scoring the eight consecutive points. "They were giving me shots. I started taking them. They were falling. So I got into a little rhythm."
He attempted 13 shots (making seven) while only attempting 25 combined in two Utah Jazz Summer League appearances and his first game in the NBA Summer League here Saturday.
As has been the case through three combined games in the two summer leagues, Simmons should have had several more assists. But many of his passes to wide-open shooters clanked off the rim. The difference in this game was Simmons started at point guard and played it most of the game.
But that was a summer-league game with a bunch of guys who won't be on the team come the regular season. The Sixers have been patient in their pursuit to bring in quality veterans to sprinkle around the 19-year-old.
"I knew what the idea and the thought was from the beginning," Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said. "That was to add the right type of players at the right price of the free-agency class."
The Sixers primary targets in free agency among wing players were DeMar DeRozan and Harrison Barnes. However, DeRozan agreed to a five-year, $145 million contract to remain with the Toronto Raptors. Barnes signed a four-year, $95 million deal with Dallas Mavericks.
With DeRozan, Barnes, and other same-type players locked up, the Sixers opted not to offer longer maximum salary contracts. So they settled for Henderson (2 years, $18 million), Bayless (3 years, $27 million), and Rodriguez (1 year, $8 million). They're all veteran pieces that address immediate needs with flexible short-term contracts.
They will also get a boost from the expected arrival of Saric.
The power forward's deadline to get out of his contract with Andolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball League is Sunday. The Sixers are still working on that with him, but it shouldn't be a problem. The 22-year-old is expected to travel here to the NBA Summer League to meet his teammates and sign his contract.
The Croatian national team standout is scheduled to fly back to his native country after signing the contract to prepare for the Rio Olympics.
Saric was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 12th overall pick in 2014 and immediately traded to the Sixers. However, he signed a three-year contract with the Turkish team in the week leading up to the NBA draft.
Rodriguez is in the process of a buyout of his Real Madrid contract. Then he will have to undergo FIBA clearance and get a physical before signing his contract. Bayless will take a physical in Philadelphia in the near future. Afterward, he'll probably have to fly here to sign his contract.
The team did not renew the contract of Lance Williams, its head of security. He worked for the Sixers the past six seasons.