The Sixers' first signing of this year's historic NBA free agency wasn't a big splash, but it may be the perfect type of player for which they were looking.
President of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo made it clear he wanted to sign veteran guards and made Jerryd Bayless his first signing of the offseason.
Bayless, a combo guard who has played for six different teams over eight seasons in the NBA, signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Sixers. He officially signed his contract Wednesday.
This isn't the first time Bayless and Colangelo have crossed paths. Colangelo was the general manager for the Raptors during the one and a half seasons Bayless played in Toronto. Bayless said this was one of the reasons he chose Philadelphia.
"I know he's going to do his best to turn this team around," Bayless said, via conference call. "The last couple years haven't been easy, and I realize that, but with his direction and the staff that he's assembled, I know he's going to make that process maybe a little bit faster than what it originally intended to be, and I'm just looking forward to being a part of it."
However, this wasn't necessarily the biggest reason why he chose the Sixers. He said the potential of this squad was the most enticing factor.
"From the outside looking in, the last couple years have obviously been a tough situation with the losing and whatnot, but when you see the No. 1 pick, you have Jahlil, you have Joel, you have a lot of young pieces that are going to grow, it's something that's intriguing to me," he said. "And being part of that process and growing into hopefully one day a contender is something I definitely want to be a part of, and I'm really looking forward to it. I think the city of Philadelphia is dying for a winner, and I don't know how quick it'll be, but I definitely want to be a part of it if we do get there."
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He will provide the team with versatility because he can play either guard spot.
"Whatever Brett [Brown] wants me to do, I don't have a preference," he said.
Plus, now on a team with an abundance of young talent, Bayless will serve as a much-needed mentor.
"Younger guys come into the league, and they haven't really been taught a lot of things, and I think Brett is really going to do that — that's obviously the main part of his job," Bayless said. "But having a guy who's been around the league, who's been there, that can help them grow a little bit faster is something I want to do, and I'm looking forward to that."
Bayless is coming off of one of his best seasons of his career in which he notched career highs in games started (18), minutes per game (28.9), rebounds per game (2.7) and three-point percentage (43.7). On a team starving for good three-point shooting, that might end up being Bayless' most important attribute.
Bayless actually finished fifth in the NBA in three-point percentage last season, and his efficiency from behind the arc will be much appreciated for the Sixers, who finished 24th in the league in three-point percentage in 2015-16. With that shooting will come an increased level of spacing, and Bayless is fully aware of that.
"I think not only him, but with Joel and Jahlil, as well, I think those guys being big are going to command double teams," he said. "So being able to space the court, like myself, Sergio [Rodriguez], Gerald [Henderson], a lot of the guys that are already there as well, it would definitely be helpful."