The latest Inside Pass with Shams column on The Athletic is headlined by some reporting on Ben Simmons’ future, but also includes an update on Philadelphia 76ers second-round pick Charles Bassey. Per Shams Charania:
“Sixers rookie Charles Bassey — the No. 53 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft out of Western Kentucky — plans to sign the one-year, non-guaranteed tender, sources said. Bassey and the 76ers have so far been unable to land a rookie deal. Bassey did not play in the Las Vegas Summer League because he was unsigned.”
We knew the two sides had been at somewhat of an impasse in terms of a contract, but it had long been expected that Bassey would assume the roster spot made available by the release of Anthony Tolliver. Still, a one-year deal is certainly a surprise from Bassey’s camp. One-year contracts are typically seen as “prove it” deals, but there is no surefire path to minutes for Bassey with the Sixers this season.
With Andre Drummond signed to back up Joel Embiid, the Sixers’ center rotation is filled under optimal healthy circumstances. Of course, injuries pop up and Embiid is bound to receive some DNP-Load Management days, but Philadelphia may choose to give second-year big man Paul Reed some run at the five spot, something we saw at the end of the most recent Las Vegas Summer League competition.
Whatever the case, we’re only talking about a limited path to playing time for Bassey in a Sixers uniform, with most of his year likely to be spent with the Delaware Blue Coats. Given the fact that most of the league was already fine letting him fall to the 53rd overall pick in the draft, how much could Bassey’s play in G League competition sway the minds of league executives? Most late second-round picks would welcome an additional year under contract to continue improving and exhibit development prior to the next deal being signed. so this one-year contract is certainly an unusual case.
Additionally, the non-guaranteed portion of the report would seem to leave the door open for the Sixers releasing Bassey if the roster spot was needed (perhaps as part of a Ben Simmons trade involving multiple moving parts). The former Conference USA Player of the Year has some skills that could be useful for the Sixers, so it would/will be great to see him in training camp in a month’s time, but with this report, Bassey’s Philadelphia tenure may ultimately end up being shorter than fans might have envisioned on draft night.