For the Philadelphia 76ers, free agency in 2023 was largely the same as in 2022: figure out how to keep James Harden (or find something suitable in his place) and add value in the margins. As July comes to a close, their offseason moves leave more questions than answers.

This year's Sixers offseason featured numerous players entering free agency or having the chance to do so. Three of them — Georges Niang, Shake Milton and Jalen McDaniels — left to sign reasonable, multi-year contracts elsewhere. Two of them opted into their player options, one re-signed and one signed an offer sheet elsewhere that was later matched. Even as the dog days of the NBA offseason really start to hit, eyes will remain on the Sixers as the Harden situation looms.

With a better understanding of what the Sixers' draft-night signees can do, let's dish out grades to each of the players the Sixers signed or retained in free agency in chronological order of each signing.

Danuel House Jr.: B-

House made the easy decision to opt into his player option before things started to get crazy. Although he didn’t do much in his first season with the Sixers, having him on the books for $4.3 million is fine.

The Sixers have yet to add a wing to their main roster this offseason, meaning that House is in line to have a more permanent bench role behind Tobias Harris and P.J. Tucker. He knows his role and can be a useful bench player with his shooting, defense and finishing at the rim. Philly can make him more useful by using his ability (and unrelenting desire) to throw one down more often. His contract serves use as a trade chip, too, and his play style makes him an easy throw-in for any deal.

James Harden: IDK

It's tough to give a grade for Harden opting into his player option because what the Sixers are actually getting is unknown. He opted into the $35.6 million deal with the intention of being rerouted to another team.

Harden, who expected to receive a long-term deal after taking a pay cut last summer, remains steadfast in his desire to be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey sounds willing to make that happen but only if the trade legitimately helps Philly. Until it's more clear what the situation will yield, an official grade will have to wait for another time.

If Harden somehow changes his mind and truly buys into what the Sixers offer him, this move can be graded as a B+. Harden presented the best Embiid co-star that the Sixers could have realistically landed. Running back the main core of a team that had the third-best record in the league with a big upgrade at coach is not the sexiest plan but it’s not a truly bad one. Shortcomings and playoff no-shows notwithstanding, Harden was one of the 20-or-so best players in the NBA last year despite showing signs of declining athleticism.

However, should Harden suit up for the Sixers again, history tells us that it will not be a true running-it-back season. His mind seems to be made up on joining the Clippers. While he may not be a total drag as he remains in Philly, he would be going through the motions until Morey finds a suitable trade. Those contributions may help keep Philly afloat but it won’t leave anyone truly satisfied until Harden is either moved or convinced to buy back in.

Patrick Beverley: C+

More dawgs/former Houston Rockets! The Sixers' most notable new addition in free agency to this point is Patrick Beverley, who is excited to get to work for Philly but most likely won’t be a big-time game-changer.

The Beverley signing makes sense roster-wise, as he will compete for the spot of backing point guard that was vacated by Milton. Even at 35 years of age, he should be a solid bench option that could factor into the playoff rotation. He gives someone that Nick Nurse can use to pressure the ball in the backcourt. Their reunion is one of many for PatBev, who is returning to a bench role that he hasn’t played consistently since 2019.

Beverley was once a very efficient three-point shooter but has shot below 35 percent in each of the last two seasons. Rediscovering his efficiency from beyond the arc is priority no. 1 for him on the offensive end. He must also ensure that his defense remains top-notch, as most guards of his size don’t age gracefully. For a minimum deal, though, Beverley should be a solid addition.

Mo Bamba: B-

Bamba will most likely not be a difference-maker for the Sixers in the games that really matter. But at the very least, he offers the chance for the Sixers to try new looks: a two-big lineup or a five-out look with a legitimate center. He has been a very good shooter for a big, converting 35.9 percent of his downtown opportunities, on top of being an effective shot blocker.

Since he isn’t playoff tested and doesn’t project to be capable of playing a more perimeter-oriented role for very long stretches, Bamba may just be a deep depth piece during the regular season. If Paul Reed (more on him later) stays healthy and Nurse doesn’t want to play two bigs often, Bamba might be nothing more than a third-stringer.

For the price of a minimum contract, taking a flyer on Bamba makes sense, even if the reward isn’t expected to yield anything serious. At the very least, the Sixers are trying something different.

Montrezl Harrell: F

Re-signing Harrell is a move that is not only puzzling but has little upside for the Sixers.

The main justifications for bringing the 29-year-old back are continuity and having as many options as possible behind Embiid. Harrell has familiarity with lots of guys on the roster, seemed to have gotten along very well with the team in his first season and can serve as a decent roll-man who knows when to kick it to the corner. He's also on just a minimum deal.

Still, the question has to be asked of what the Sixers saw last season that made them believe having Harrell on the roster again was worthwhile. Reed beat him out as the backup center by roughly the middle of the season and seems almost certain to stay ahead of him on the depth chart. With the addition of Bamba, the Sixers will once again have multiple backup centers, an issue only moderately alleviated by Bamba's ability to play as a stretch four.

Right now, it looks like Harrell will occupy a spot deep on the bench. For someone who could be the 13th man or later, it's a spot that the Sixers could have instead filled with a flyer on a young player. Would that potential move be likely to pay off in a meaningful way? No, but it has a better shot at paying off than the Harrell signing does unless he can bounce back from a vastly underwhelming season.

UPDATE: Harrell most likely won’t even get the chance to improve on last season after an MRI revealed that he had suffered a torn ACL and meniscus. Baring a surprisingly quick recovery process, his 2023-24 season is over before it started, a very disappointing development for the veteran big man.

Paul Reed: A

Sixers fans were sweating bullets wondering if the team would match the offer sheet re-signed with the Utah Jazz. They did so just before the deadline, retaining one of their most important bench players on a three-year deal worth $23 million.

Reed continues to get better with each season and could become more than just a rim-running, board-crashing center under Nurse's tutelage. Even if he doesn’t, he gives the Sixers elite rebounding (particularly on offense), a knack for generating chaos on defense and positional switchability. Committing to Reed's multi-year deal indicates that having his value to the team is worth eating into a sliver of future cap space.

It looked like, for a good moment, that the Sixers were willing to let Reed go. Instead, they decided to match the offer sheet, paying fair market value for a good, young backup big. It wasn’t a difficult hurdle to clear but they nonetheless cleared it. Keeping Reed is undoubtedly the best move of their offseason so far.

Filip Petrusev: D+

The Summer League isn’t the perfect environment to get a read on how players will perform in the regular season. Players who dominated have gone on to struggle and vice versa. Petrusev, a rookie who was drafted 50th overall in 2021 and played two years overseas, didn’t really help his case; the 23-year-old played fine but didn’t stand out that much.

Adding yet another center — one who will likely not be able to reliably play another position — really makes no sense for a team with its starter and backup spots firmly spoken for. Petrusev has a solid shooting touch around the paint, can potentially shoot from deep and has a fine understanding of defensive positioning. But when asking what it is that he does that will earn him playing time despite other veterans at his position, the answers run dry.

The saving grace of adding yet another center is Petrusev's easy-to-shed contract. The deal is only half guaranteed, meaning that the Sixers can move on from him more easily. If he ends up staying on the roster, he will probably spend a lot of time in the G League. Being the fifth center added to the roster will not only make it hard for him to get a chance but leaves the Sixers without a legitimate flyer in the wing room.

In a July interview with Anthony Gargano on 97.5 The Fanatic that mostly covered the Harden situation, Morey said that fans should focus more on the roster when the season comes around. By that point, it can be safely assumed that the roster will look different. But until it does, any hype for the Sixers heading into the 2023-24 season will be met with a storm of skepticism.