If 76ers Don't Resume, Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks Could Benefit in Free Agency

Justin Grasso

Two months into the NBA's suspension, the Philadelphia 76ers are still unsure of whether the team will have the opportunity to find closure on the 2019-2020 NBA season or not. For many players, the thought of not finding out what would happen if the playoffs occurred is devastating. For some, though, a canceled season could actually benefit their personal futures in a sense.

Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks have recently joined the Sixers before the 2019-2020 NBA trade deadline closed out back in February. In an attempt to acquire more consistent shooters ahead of a potential playoff run, the 76ers gambled on the two veterans with expiring contracts by sending multiple second-round picks to the Golden State Warriors.

Typically, when a veteran player is stuck on a struggling team, the thought of getting traded to a playoff contender is appealing. And while Robinson and Burks were excited about a new challenge, both players weren't exactly looking for an exit out of Golden State as they were having career-years with the Warriors.

"NBA basketball is NBA basketball to me," Burks said back in February after getting traded. "I don't care if we're losing or winning." As for Robinson, the veteran forward didn't exactly feel like he was losing as much, despite being on the Western Conference's worst team in 2019-2020 for most of the season. 

"Even though we weren't winning, the Warriors always have a championship mentality that they bring in every day," Robinson stated after his Sixers debut months ago. "So, I don't feel too far off of [from having a contender's mentality]."

When the Sixers first acquired the two veterans, there was tons of optimism in Philly as they were both hitting their stride in Golden State. Robinson started in 48 games for the Warriors, notching a career-high of 12.9 points-per-game. Meanwhile, Burks was a spark off the Warriors' bench averaging over 16 points-per-game.

In Philly, however, the numbers dropped. Both players averaged nearly six fewer points along with seeing a dip in three-point percentage. The struggles to consistently get back to Golden State form caused Glenn Robinson to question why the 76ers ever even traded for him in the first place.

There was still plenty of time for Robinson and Burks to find their fit with the Sixers eventually, but a suspended season put everything on hold. And with the NBA undecided on the season's future, Robinson and Burks might've played their final minutes with the Sixers as their contracts expire whenever the season concludes officially. If that's the case, both players' could see it as beneficial heading into free agency without wrapping up their short tenure with the Sixers

Despite their sample size with the Sixers being somewhat disappointing, it's tough to judge a players' real value in just eleven or twelve games. Whenever the market opens up for the future free agents, their time with Golden State would unquestionably outweigh their small sample size with the Sixers. 

That's good news for Robinson, who has been very adamant about getting himself the "best chance" he can get to secure a wealthy contract in free agency -- whenever that may be. As for Burks, his thoughts seem to be on the same wavelength as Robinson's. 

While Burks hasn't been as outspoken as his teammate, he never wanted to leave his previous situation in Golden State. In fact, Burks desired a multi-year contract from the Warriors before getting traded, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. Mix that in with the idea that playing for a contender doesn't seem to be a priority of his, and Burks could realistically end up with a decent multi-year offer, which Philly may not be able to outbid in free agency. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_

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