The Philadelphia 76ers have one of the more unique situations in the league right now ahead of free agency. Do they and can they re-sign Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, or will they deal away Butler and let Harris walk.
Elton Brand would love to maintain cap flexibility, but at the same time he must maximized the Sixers title window – which will be wide open next season no matter what transpires in the next few days.
The Sixers must also be mindful of Ben Simmons’ contract situation as he is set to become a restricted free agent next summer. There has been chatter of late that the Sixers could offer Simmons a max contract as soon as this summer depending on how things play out with Butler and Harris.
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The Ringer’s Bill Simmons spoke about the Sixers situation on his podcast with the New York Times’ Marc Stein this week.
Stein on Harris: That’s a dude that there has been no chatter about. As good as he can be, as good as we’ve seen him play in spurts – I don’t think the playoffs did him any favors – but I’m somebody is going to give him a big four-year deal.
Simmons: Why couldn’t it be Denver?
Stein: It could. I thought Denver could have been the sneaky Anthony Davis bidder.
Simmons: Do you think there’s an outside chance that Harris comes back to the Clippers? That would be the most Jerry West move of all-time. You trade this dude and then you get a ton of assets and then you just re-sign him four months later.
Stein: I have not heard that but the drum-beat of Kawhi to the Clippers has been so steady until the Finals that you didn’t even know what the backup plan was.
Simmons: That’s what I mean maybe he’s the backup plan. It’s totally legal. It shouldn’t be but it is.
Stein: Well I think they need to maintain space if Kawhi does a one and one with the Raptors. They’ll just wait and go after him again [next year].
Simmons: Yeah but Gallinari’s contract comes off [next year]. They can just use that money and give it to Kawhi. Don’t rule out the Clippers [on Harris].
Stein: [Butler] was the steadiest guy in Philly. He was the most dependable guy and he got them to the absolute brink of beating the eventual champions … I’m a fan of his and I think he’s going to have a lot of suitors.
Simmons: I think it’ll be four years with the max because he will be properly priced. A five-year max from Philly would be a little much.
Stein: But you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to feed off the competition [for Butler] in free agency. If the choice is losing him you have to do it.
Simmons: I wouldn’t give him the five year max though. Make it relatively close. I don’t want to tie up my cap in [Embiid, Simmons and Butler]. Because that’s where I’m going to be a year from now.
It is interesting though. Butler did align himself with Embiid as that run went along.
Stein: Look, they’re going to get Simmons under contract at some point and they will just trade him if it doesn’t work. It’s not like they would be stuck with that three forever.
Simmons: So you think Philly for Butler?
Stein: Yes, as of right now.
Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher wrote this week that the Mavericks and Nuggets are looking to swoop in on Harris. The Lakers, Knicks and Clippers could also come in late on Harris if their respective Plan A’s fall through.