The 76ers will go into the offseason with two-thirds of their roster available to become free agents, Mike Scott included.
But the difference between Scott and some of those other players hitting the free-agent market is that Scott is not being secretive or vague about where he wants to be: in Philadelphia.
“I told Brett and [Elton Brand] that I enjoyed my time here and of course I want to play here and continue to be coached by Brett, be around EB, be around everybody,” Scott said on Monday. “I’m going to talk to my agent, talk to EB, and try to work some things out.”
After spending the first five years of his career in Atlanta, Scott has been on three teams in the last two years, and said that while he loved Clippers coach Doc Rivers and his teammates in Los Angeles, he knew it wasn’t the right fit.
“When I found out I was coming here, I was happy. I was excited,” he said. “I love being here. I feel like it gave me a jolt back into my career.”
While with the Sixers, Scott averaged more minutes and put up more shots than he had at any other point in his NBA career, and he shot 41.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Every team needs that one player who isn’t going to back down, who adds a toughness and edge, and is real as real can get. Scott was that for the Sixers in his short time this season. It was that attitude and approach to the game that endeared Scott to the Philadelphia fans and made him a player worthy of fans’ tattooing his name on their bodies.
But Scott didn’t just win the fans over with his gritty personality. He hit a game-winning three in Game 4 of the Sixers’ first-round series against the Nets, he stepped up for multiple defensive assignments, and he was willing to do it all in a reserve role.
Reliable, tough role players are harder to come by in the NBA than you would think — especially at the $4.3 million price tag that Scott cost the Sixers. For context, the first man off the bench for a contending team usually has a salary in the range of $7-$10 million or more unless picked up off waivers or on a rookie contract.
There’s often a significant drop-off between the stars of a starting lineup and the bench unit. So when free agency rolls around, the Sixers would be smart to find a way to keep Scott. With the limited resources the Sixers will have, having a reliable and switchable wing who can play big in small lineups is nearly too valuable to pass on.