Utah Jazz sign restricted free agent Paul Reed Jr. to offer sheet

The unique structure of the offer for the backup center could potentially make it a three-year contract if the Sixers retain him, but perhaps only a one-year deal if he winds up joining the Jazz.

(Charles Krupa | AP) Philadelphia 76ers forward Paul Reed (44) shoots over Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during the first half of Game 1 in the NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series, Monday, May 1, 2023, in Boston.

Las Vegas • The Utah Jazz have signed restricted free agent Paul Reed Jr. to an offer sheet, according to multiple reports.

The Philadelphia 76ers have until Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. ET to match the three-year offer, which is worth either $23 million (per ESPN) or $24 million (according to The Athletic).

There are some details in the deal’s structure intended to give the Sixers some heartburn about matching it.

For starters, Reed’s 2023-24 salary would put Philadelphia over the luxury tax, and force the team to incur about $14 million in tax payments. Furthermore, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there is a clause in the contract that would fully guarantee years two and three of the deal if the team that Reed plays for advances to the conference semifinals — the second round of the playoffs.

The Sixers have reached the conference semifinals each of the last three seasons, while the Jazz are obviously still in the rebuilding stages. That could make Philly loathe to potentially commit to three seasons, while perhaps conversely making it nothing more than an intriguing one-year gamble for Utah.

Reed is a 6-foot-9, 210-pound center whose overall statistical production is not particularly impressive, but whose potential has made him something of a cult hero among Sixers fans.

The 24-year-old appeared in just 64 combined games over his first two seasons, but played in 69 games in ’22-23, averaging 4.2 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 59.3% from the field.

While his minutes were sporadic under then-coach Doc Rivers (he played nine or fewer in 34 of his games), when Reed did get some extended run, his productivity spiked in a big way.

In the games where he played between 20-29 minutes, Reed’s averages jumped to 11.2 points and 9.2 rebounds. And when he played 30 minutes or more, he averaged 15.5 points and 11.5 rebounds.

When Joel Embiid got hurt in the playoffs, Reed stepped in as a starter for Game 4 of Philly’s first-round series against the Nets and contributed 10 points and 15 rebounds. He also started Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semis against the Celtics, and notched 10 points and 13 boards.

Though the DePaul product is quite lanky for a center, Reed is an exceptionally springy athlete whose standout trait is his skill as an offensive rebounder.

Should the Sixers wind up declining to match the offer sheet, Reed will represent yet another significant change in Utah’s cadre of bigs.

Walker Kessler, the Rookie of the Year finalist who is joining Team USA for this year’s FIBA World Championships returns as the starting center, while John Collins — whose trade from the Hawks was finalized Friday night — figures to now start alongside him. Last year’s starting power forward, Kelly Olynyk, figures to now play a prominent reserve role as a backup 4/5.

Meanwhile, the Jazz used the No. 9 overall pick on Central Florida power forward Taylor Hendricks, who has yet to appear in summer league play owing to a hamstring injury. They also traded one of last season’s backup centers, Damian Jones (who came over from the Lakers in the three-team deal with the Wolves at the trade deadline) to Cleveland, and on Saturday the team waived veteran center Vernon Carey, who they had signed to a non-guaranteed deal in the final days of the ’22-23 season.