Philadelphia 76ers

Niang talks free agency, says he's ‘extremely pleased' about Nurse hiring

Stretch four Georges Niang gave some insight on what he'll weigh in free agency. By Noah Levick

NBC Universal, Inc.

Beyond James Harden, the Sixers have plenty of key players set to hit free agency this summer.

Georges Niang is among them.

On ESPN’s Hoop Collective podcast, the 29-year-old stretch four gave some insight on what factors he’ll weigh in free agency.

“Basically joining a team where I continue to be valued, where they believe in me and that I can help the team,” he said. “And continue to grow into a role that eventually leads to winning, right? People talk about this and that, but you want to go to a workplace where you’re valued and you enjoy going to work every day. 

“As much as people think 82 games fly by, it’s a long fricking season. … So somewhere where I’m valued, somewhere where I can continue to grow and help the team with my abilities. And being in an environment where it’s enjoyable and we can win.”

The Sixers seem to score well in the areas Niang noted. He praised the team’s “togetherness” this season, savored chances to talk trash and compete with teammates at practice, and undoubtedly had a good time for much of the past two seasons. 

Though admittedly limited athletically, Niang stuck in the Sixers’ playoff rotation this year and improved defensively from the 2022 postseason, when he played through a left knee issue. He also hit 12 of his 26 playoff three-point tries (46.2 percent).

In the regular season, Niang shot a shade over 40 percent from long range for a second straight year. His 149 made threes off the bench ranked second in the NBA.

If Niang returns, Nick Nurse would be his new coach. He sounded enthusiastic about that idea. 

“Bringing in a guy that’s a basketball savant, he knows how to junk up games, he knows how to draw (after-timeout plays), run offenses, junk defenses, how to play defense,” Niang said. “He’s done a great job. His Toronto teams were always tough to guard and they were always tough to score against. So I was extremely pleased to see that they hired him and that they’re moving in that direction. Obviously, it was unfortunate what happened with (former head coach Doc Rivers), but that happens in the league all the time, right? There’s expectation and when that’s not met, teams shift. 

“So it’s exciting. I don’t know what’s going to happen in free agency. I love being in Philadelphia; I love the organization. And having Nick Nurse there, he values smart players and I feel like I kind of fit that realm. I’d be excited to play for him if that opportunity presented itself.”

As for Harden, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the 10-time All-Star is “really torn right now on his free-agency decision.”

We’ll start to get definitive answers on Harden, Niang and more in a few weeks. Free agency is scheduled to officially open on June 30 at 6 p.m. ET. 

Contact Us