Philadelphia has agreed to a four-year deal with summer guard Scottie Wilbekin, league sources tell RealGM. Wilbekin opts out in Australia.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 18, 2015
Adam Silverstein of Only Gators later confirmed the report.
Wilbekin spent the 2014-15 season with the Cairns Taipans of Australia's National Basketball League, averaging better than 15 points per game, being named his team's Most Valuable Player, and leading the Taipans to the finals of the league's playoffs. He then spent about two months with AEK Athens of the Greek Basket League, before returning to the United States and taking another shot at the NBA by playing with the Orlando Magic in the Orlando Pro Summer League and the Sixers in the later Las Vegas Summer League.
In both cities, Wilbekin was a revelation: He was third on the Magic's "White" team (the franchise fielded two Summer League teams) in scoring despite never starting in any of the team's five games, making 38.5 percent of his threes despite taking more than any two other players combined, and he scored 14.4 points per game while also nabbing 1.6 steals per contest with the Sixers in Vegas.
Wilbekin had previously resigned with the Taipans for 2015-16, but his contract had an NBA out clause, and he'll get out of it by be joining the Sixers for the 2015-16 NBA season. Philadelphia has just Isaiah Canaan, Pierre Jackson, and Ish Smith at point guard, too, so there's a great chance for Wilbekin to establish himself as an NBA player with the league's most moribund franchise.
Of course, he might also not be long for Philly. The Sixers' unorthodox approach under general manager Sam Hinkie, which has drawn all sorts of attention from the NBA intelligentsia, has included playing the long game with sleeper prospects.
Part 2: Wilbekin becomes the 10th 76ers player since 2013 either not drafted/2nd round to sign a 4 year contract.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 18, 2015
The deals, typical for second-rounders, give players some security — but the Sixers have shown a willingness to swap parts almost at will, notably getting 2014 second-rounder K.J. McDaniels to take a one-year contract last offseason, then shipping him to Houston for Canaan and a second-round pick. To say predicting the Sixers' moves with accuracy is a crapshoot is to do a disservice to crapshoots.
Regardless of all that: Wilbekin refused to be discouraged by the NBA's initial lack of interest in him after he led 2013-14 Florida to one of the best seasons in program history, and dedicated himself to his craft. Getting better as a player and more mature as a person has helped him immensely, and his story already seems like a tale of redemption and success.
Keep going, Scottie. It's good to have you back over here.