Last week, the Philadelphia 76ers issued a substitute contract to Australian prospect, Ryan Broekhoff. After going undrafted back during the 2013 NBA Draft, Broekhoff struggled to find a permanent home in the NBA. Therefore, he played a couple of seasons overseas until eventually landing with the Dallas Mavericks in 2018.
Over the last two years, Broekhoff has seen limited minutes in Dallas. He’s played just 59 games in the NBA, where he averaged four points-per-game in 10.7 minutes. Although his stats don’t jump off the sheet, the Sixers were intrigued by Broekhoff’s three-point shooting as he’s knocked down 40-percent of his shots from beyond the arc throughout his short time with the Mavs.
Landing Broekhoff was an idea that Sixers head coach Brett Brown was interested in — but he didn’t believe the Australian wing would be willing to take that chance. “I was shocked that he agreed to come,” Brown told the media on Wednesday.
“To mislead him about ‘hey, there are lots of opportunities here,’ that’s not true — and I told him that,” Brown claimed. “We can all look at each other and say ‘well, what about Matisse [Thybulle], Glenn Robinson, Furkan [Korkmaz], and Alec Burks,’ and you can go on and on — this isn’t an opportunity that’s clear there’s a pathway at all. That was the flavor of my talk; I downplayed it more than anything. I don’t want to mislead him or anybody. I believed when I hung up the phone, he was either going to go to Europe or somebody else was going to recruit him better than I did.”
But Brown was wrong. The very next day after discussing potentially joining the Sixers with Brown, Broekhoff decided to sign with the Sixers for the remainder of the season. “I think the opportunity, in the end, was too hard to pass up,” Broekhoff said during his virtual introductory press conference on Wednesday. “A chance to work with Coach Brown, the Philadelphia 76ers, and having an opportunity to go into what’s going to be a unique environment in Orlando, I feel like I’m on the cusp of finding somewhere steady in the NBA and hopefully that will be Philly.”
Broekhoff’s contract is good for just the final eight games of the regular season, and this year’s playoff run. While there’s no guarantee the Sixers are looking into offering another contract to the 29-year-old wing when this season concludes, Broekhoff is hopeful his progress with the Sixers over the next few months affords him an opportunity to find an NBA home for the future.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_