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The Philadelphia 76ers have been aggressive this offseason in terms of bringing in free agents. President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey already signed P.J. Tucker, De’Anthony Melton, and Danuel House thanks to James Harden’s newfound generosity, and he’s still not done adding to the roster.

On Tuesday, the Sixers signed free agent center Montrezl Harrell to a two-year, $5.2 million deal, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Harrell will solve one of Philadelphia’s most glaring problems with his tenacity off the bench, but he’ll create a whole new one that doesn’t bode well for fan-favorite Paul Reed.

Montrezl Harrell adds some much-needed intensity to the 76ers

Montrezl Harrell flexes against the Knicks.
Montrezl Harrell of the Charlotte Hornets flexes against the New York Knicks | Mike Stobe/Getty Images

For the last few seasons, the 76ers simply haven’t instilled fear in their opponents during the playoffs. The team didn’t reflect Philadelphia’s identity as a tough, gritty city with its play on the court, so Morey set out to change that this offseason.

Signing Tucker was the first step toward infusing some intensity into this group, and bringing in Harrell only doubles down on that plan.

Harrell has never been the most talented player on his team, but he’s never been outworked for a rebound or a loose ball. He’s going to talk smack nonstop while he’s on the court, and it doesn’t matter if his team is up 10 or down 30. Besides his tenacity and his ability to get under the opponent’s skin, Harrell is one of the most efficient bench scorers in the NBA. He’s shot 62% from the field throughout his career, and he won Sixth Man of the Year back in 2020 when he was playing for — you guessed it — Doc Rivers.

The 76ers have built the unfortunate reputation of a soft team that lies down and quits at the first sign of adversity. That won’t be the case with Tucker and Harrell now on the roster.

The Harrell signing likely spells the end for fan-favorite Paul Reed


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On the surface, the Harrell signing is just what the doctor ordered for the 76ers. The backup center position has been a glaring weakness on this roster for much of Joel Embiid‘s career, and Harrell is one of the best in the business off the bench.

But giving Harrell 15 minutes per game likely pushes Reed out of the rotation.

This was supposed to be Reed’s breakout season. After playing 12 minutes per game off the bench in last year’s playoffs, he was going to enter the 2022-23 season as the clear No. 2 in the center rotation behind Embiid. Sixers fans were ecstatic to finally see what an unleashed Reed could do with an expanded role. They’ve been calling for it ever since his rookie year in 2020. And poof, just like that, Bball Paul is back down in the mud where he started.

The 76ers may never give Reed the full opportunity he deserves, and if they don’t, they’re sure to lose him when his contract runs out next summer. Philadelphia just better hope he doesn’t become the next roster casualty to shine once he leaves town (Jerami Grant, Nikola Vucevic, Jrue Holiday, Christian Wood, to name a few).

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