The Sixers are facing arguably their most important offseason in recent memory. Two of their recently constructed starting five are set to hit the free agent market, along with some very important depth players. There’s no way that the team can retain all eight pending free agents, but who should they prioritize?
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What a whirlwind Butler’s time in Philadelphia has been. It took just a matter of days for ‘Jimmy Buckets’ to almost completely bury the ‘locker room cancer’ label that many had try to pin to his shoulders. Butler’s leadership, camaraderie, and just flat-out production were worth every penny.
Averaging 18.7 points, 5 boards, and 4 assists per game, Butler was crucial in helping the Sixers get to the playoffs…but his real impact came in helping them advance.
With Embiid’s health concerns constantly throwing up curveballs and Ben Simmons disappearing sporadically, Butler was the glue who kept a very young and seemingly nervy core together in the wobbliest times. Posting 20+ points and 5+ assists on five of the seven games against Toronto, Butler was invaluable.
The Sixers are in a unique situation due to the nature of the ‘Bird exception’, which means they could offer a five-year max contract of up to $190M, while other teams can offer four-year deals of up to $141M.
It all comes down to front office priority, but retaining Jimmy Butler to glue this young core together for five years until they all hit their prime could be the best decision they make all offseason.
At 26-years old, the NBA’s most impactful journeyman will finally be hoping to find a long-term home. After wearing five different home jersey’s in his eight-year career, Harris may have made his grandest case for a bigger deal while wearing the fifth.
Averaging 20 points per contest and shooting 48.7/39.7/86.6, Harris was yet another strong addition from the Sixers front office. The 6’9 combo forward helped provide the spacing that the team needed. A threat to drill long-range shots if given the space, Harris has the requisite awareness to really play to the strengths of a starting five that will be inexperienced playing together yet again and given his predicted cheaper price, should be a ‘no-brainer’.
The issue comes in the fact that Harris had the lowest usage rating during the regular season and that shrank even further during the playoffs. Harris may deem his only value greater than the role the Sixers had presented and you can’t really blame him for that. If the Sixers can make him a more prominent member of the offense and utilize his unique skill set (as they should), then signing Harris would be a great way to kickstart the offseason.
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