The four most pressing issues for the 76ers this offseason are: When will James Harden return? Who takes Doc Rivers’ place?

How different will the roster for Philadelphia be the next year?

For the 76ers, another dismal second-round exit means another uncertain summer in Philadelphia. The Sixers approach the offseason facing a host of crucial challenges after once again falling short of achieving their own stated aim of winning a championship with a group built to capitalize on the moment.

The answers to those queries will have a significant impact on how the franchise develops in the future. Here are four of the most important issues that Philadelphia is currently confronting.

1. Who will be the next head coach?

Who will be the Sixers’ next head coach is one of the most important issues they must deal with this offseason. After three seasons, Philadelphia parted ways with Doc Rivers, and the franchise is currently looking for a replacement. Rivers was fired because he couldn’t manage the Sixers past the conference semifinals, so whoever replaces him will be under tremendous pressure to succeed where Rivers failed. Joel Embiid’s postseason potential will also need to be maximized by the next coach because his past two head coaches were unable to help his team go far in the playoffs.

Several good possibilities are currently available, which Sixers head of basketball operations Morey said was at least a factor in the decision to break ways with Rivers. A Sixers team battling to get past the second round may benefit from the recent championship experience of some of the coaches now on the market.

According to Morey, a number of coaches have already contacted the Sixers about the position. Based on the caliber of the team’s current squad, Morey believes this position should be quite appealing.

Morey remarked that “about 26 teams would prefer to have our roster.” “We’re going to start with the league MVP. Tuesday’s draft lottery aimed to secure a top pick in the hopes that the player would develop into a star on par with the league MVP. We have a wonderful place to start.

It seems improbable that the Sixers would choose a new or inexperienced coach because they have high aspirations for winning a championship. They’ll undoubtedly hire a more experienced coach with a ton of postseason experience. The Sixers intend to take their time when selecting a Rivers replacement, regardless of the outcome.

Morey described the situation as “we’re taking a careful process with the coach.” “It won’t go very swiftly, in our opinion. Although we must exercise caution, the statement is true.

2. Will James Harden be back with the team?

It comes as no surprise that James Harden intends to decline his player option for the upcoming season and seek out a new long-term contract in free agency. According to rumors, Harden intends to move back to Houston, but the Sixers are also considering making an effort to re-sign the former MVP.

Daryl Morey said of Harden, “We are interested in getting him back, but we can’t have those negotiations just yet.

With Harden coming off yet another disastrous postseason performance, the Sixers are in a bad place. A long-term, significant contract with him could be a mistake because he has already fallen behind and hasn’t proven that he can deliver when it counts. The Sixers would struggle to replace his output if he were to sign with another team, despite the fact that he was reliable for them as their primary facilitator during the entire season. It’s important to optimize the team around the reigning MVP, and losing Harden for nothing would be a disappointment, especially considering how much the franchise had to give up to get him last season.

We knew we would be here when Harden signed a two-year deal with a player option a year ago and took a pay cut to help the Sixers fill out the roster. Now, here we are. Whatever he chooses to do, Harden’s free agency will have a significant impact on the Sixers, so it will be intriguing to see how it all plays out.

3. Will Tobias Harris be traded?

Due to its size and length (five years, $180 million), Tobias Harris’ deal has been an immovable albatross for Philadelphia since it was inked in 2019. Although Harris is a productive player and a decent teammate, his contract has been overpriced from the moment he signed it, and it has consumed a sizable portion of the team’s budget that could have been used elsewhere. But this summer, Harris’ contract finally becomes tradable because it is about to expire.

Now, teams can trade for Harris with no long-term ties in exchange for just the upcoming season. This would help the team that acquires him in a trade the following summer by creating salary cap space. Throughout his time with the Sixers, Harris has been mentioned in trade speculations, but nothing has ever come to pass. Perhaps it’s time for the Sixers to let go of the veteran forward after yet another disappointing second-round loss. Trading Harris might be one of the few ways the Sixers can dramatically change things this offseason given the team’s lack of other resources and salary space.

4. Which of the pending free agents will be back?

The Sixers have a number of additional players scheduled for free agency this offseason in addition to Harden. While Paul Reed will be a restricted free agent, Georges Niang, Shake Milton, and Jalen McDaniels will all be unrestricted free agents, giving the Sixers the chance to match any outside offers for the backup center. Additionally, Montrezl Harrell and Danuel House Jr. also have player options for the upcoming season that they are able to reject in favor of unrestricted free agency.

It will be interesting to see if any of those pending free agents return to Philadelphia, if any at all. None of those guys truly had stable, dependable positions with the Sixers this past season, which makes them all look fairly interchangeable, with the exception of Reed, who later in the season established himself as the second-string center, and Niang. As usual, the market will influence some of the choices, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Sixers part ways with many of these players.