NBA free agency 2024: The 76ers spent over $444 million. Let's break it all down

Day 1 of NBA free agency may have started off slower than a Kyle Anderson dribble-drive, but the Philadelphia 76ers made sure it ended with a Mike Breen-esque bang.

The Sixers, who positioned themselves to maximize cap space this summer, spent big right out of the gate.

Team president Daryl Morey got a commitment from nine-time NBA All-Star Paul George, who agreed to a four-year contract worth $212 million, with the final year being a player option.

Former All-NBA center Andre Drummond, whom the Sixers aggressively tried to acquire before the trade deadline back in February, agreed to a two-year deal worth $10 million.

Kelly Oubre Jr., who played for the Sixers last season, will return on a $16.3 million deal that will run for the next two years.

Eric Gordon, who used to be in Houston when Morey was helming the team, joined in on the fun, signing a minimum deal.

As if that wasn't enough, Morey also re-signed Tyrese Maxey to a five-year contract worth $204 million, finally handing the point guard the contract he was destined for dating back to last summer.

To those keeping count, that's over $444 million spent by the Sixers over a period of around 15 hours, stretching over the next five seasons.

All of this was carefully mapped out by Morey, who used Maxey as the key to this summer.

As the 21st player selected in the 2020 NBA Draft, Maxey's rookie contract was somewhat modest, meaning his cap hold entering the 2024 summer sat at just $13 million.

Unlike high lottery selections, whose cap holds are much more significant, Morey correctly identified Maxey's situation as being beneficial to the Sixers, as it would allow them to carve out space for a maximum free agent, which turned out to be George.

The order in which the Sixers will sign these players July 6 is what ties it all together. The players signed via cap space will go first, then the exception players and finally Maxey, laid out beautifully by Morey as a geeky game of salary cap bingo.

Lest we forget, there will eventually be basketball played by these players when the calendar turns to October, and the Sixers now stand much improved.

With the Boston Celtics returning every piece of their main core, and having just won a title, they obviously stand as the kings of the Eastern Conference.

The Sixers will now juggle with the New York Knicks all year long to prove themselves as second-in-command, with George becoming the third star Morey has looked for since he arrived in Philadelphia.

George, 34, is an overwhelmingly clean fit next to the up-tempo Maxey and the half-court brilliance of Embiid due to his floor-spacing capabilities. He's likely to play mostly off his fellow two stars and should embrace his catch-and-shoot talents, of which he connected at a rate of 45.4% last season.

Whether the Sixers run the break, or slow it down, George is a continuous threat from the outside and his 6-foot-9 frame further allows him to get into the paint and finish plays.

He's basically what the Sixers hoped Tobias Harris would become when they signed him to that $180 million deal back in 2019.

How far will a core of Embiid, Maxey, George, and Oubre go? That remains to be seen. By adding Drummond and Gordon, the bench also got a necessary face-lift, which isn't to be overlooked.

Drummond is one of the best rebounders of all time and will help balance the minutes in which Embiid doesn't play, just as Gordon can provide additional floor spacing when George is off the court.

Add in Oubre, who will now play a lesser role that should make him more offensively efficient, and the Sixers appear to have a rotation that can do some significant damage. And that's before baking in further improvements to Maxey, who just won the NBA Most Improved Player award.

While we have no clue as to whether the Sixers can live up to expectations, we do know they cashed in their chips and put themselves in the best possible situation they could.