Recapping the Sixers’ wild first day of free agency

After leaving a bad taste in the mouth of Sixers fans, Elton Brand may have found his groove. He left the city of Philadelphia with an interesting phrase after the 2019 NBA Draft, He made sure to let everyone know that “it will all make sense soon”. Who would’ve thought that this is exactly what he meant? Let’s look at the moves first before we dissect them.

Key Players Leaving:

⁃J.J Reddick to NOLA for 2 years/$26 Million

⁃Jimmy Butler to Miami for 4 years/$142 Million

Key Players Returning:

+ Tobias Harris for 5 years/$180 Million

+ Mike Scott for 2 years/$9.8 Million

New Acquisitions:

+ Al Horford for 4 years/$109 Million

+ Josh Richardson via Miami-Philly sign and trade for Jimmy Butler

An interesting night for Philly to say the least after starting out the gates pretty late in free agency. The key to all of their moves was the confidence that they have in the pairing of Ben Simmons and Joel Embid. Elton Brand is doing the right thing by his franchise players by putting the necessary pieces around them for not only right now but for years to come. This core will at least stay together for the next 4-5 years. The team may miss Redick’s three-point ability but they gain much more with Richardson. As for Butler, it was reported that he wanted to be on a team that would build around him. Somewhere he could be the franchise player, that wasn’t Philly. Elton Brand and the Sixers organization made that very clear and may have possibly avoided a very toxic situation in the long run.

Now I know what’s in everybody’s mind right now, is Tobias Harris worth $180 million? Did Elton Brand overspend on Al Horford? Let’s dive into all of that right now.

Tobias Harris

(Photo credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty)

Harris was traded from the LA Clippers to Philly last season after the Sixers acquired Jimmy Butler. Harris was having a career year before joining the 76ers. Tobias Harris was averaging 20.9 points per game while shooting nearly 43% from three-point range for the LA Clippers before they moved him for Landry Shamet, Mike Muscula, and Wilson Chandler. In addition to those three players, the Sixers also sent two first round picks and two second round picks.

If you thought that Sixers wouldn’t pay Harris, then you had another thing coming. Harris is only 26 years old and is entering his prime years. Yes, after being traded Tobias saw a drop in his game. He averaged only 18 points per game with the Sixers while shooting 32% from deep. The change in actual usage hindered Harris and his streaky shooting. At times it seemed as if Harris was not relevant enough during the playoff run but if you actually look at the numbers, he only had two games in which he scored in single digits. His three-point shot was on and off too much during the playoffs but then again was Brett Brown actually utilizing Harris correctly? Now with Butler officially gone, this may be a blessing in disguise for Tobias. With Ben and Embid being focal points, Tobias enters a position where he can be a bit more dominant with the ball in his hands opposed to last season.

Mike Scott

(Photo credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty)

This is one signing that definitely had every Sixers fan ready to give Elton Brand a standing ovation. Mike Scott first came to the Sixers in the trade that also brought Tobias Harris. Scott became a fan favorite due to his swagger on and off the court. Coming off the bench Scott provided the team with defensive efficiency as well as a very reliable shot from three-point range. Mike Scott averaged 7.8 points per game for the Sixers while shooting over 40% from three-point range. This is a key signing because of the energy he carried with him off of the bench, it also provides the necessary veterans presence this team so desperately needed to keep.

Al Horford

(Photo credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty)

Finally, the Sixers get to stick it to Danny Ainge for once, although it was a steep price to pay. For years the Boston Celtics have been a thorn on the side for the 76ers but now the Sixers have stolen a key piece of the franchise in Al Horford. Horford has been a tough defensive anchor for the Celtics. Not only that but he’s also been the veteran leader in times where the team had no one else to turn to.

He’s not the stat filler he used to be, but he still is very consistent and can fill a very huge need for the Sixers. For several seasons now, the Sixers have struggled to find a way to survive while Embid is resting, Horford is the answer to those problems.

Not only can Horford play the role of a backup center but he can also play PF, giving the starting line up a very scary frontcourt. In an age where teams are beefing up on offensive talent, it seems as if the Sixers are finding ways to counter. All in all the 33-year-old averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 blocks per game last season for the Celtics.

Also, if you fear that having Horford will limit the spacing on the floor then allow me to move on with this; Horford shot 36% from three-point range last season. I know the money seems outrageous but the team was in desperate need of finding a quality big man to help lighten the load for their franchise center, Joel Embid. There’s always a price to pay when it comes to protecting the health of the franchise, even if it is $100 million for 4 years.

Josh Richardson

(Photo credit: Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty)

Unfortunately for Sixers fans, this last move came at a very surprising price. All season long, Jimmy Butler ranted on about how important winning was to him. He sold fans on the idea that he was all in until he wasn’t. According to several reports, Jimmy Butler wanted to be somewhere where the team would be built around him and of course that wasn’t going to be Philly.

On Sunday night, the Sixers agreed to a sign and trade deal with the Miami Heat and a third team that has yet to be found since Dallas backed out. In this trade, the Sixers are to acquire the Heats young wing, Josh Richardson. Richardson is only 25 years old and is coming off his best season yet. He finished the season averaging 16.6 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game while shooting 35% from three-point range, 41% from the field and 86% from the line. Richardson is growing into a good two-way player and looks to fit in well with this Sixers roster.

To the Sixers go the spoils

Day 1 of free agency had its moments for the 76ers. It was tough seeing J.J Redick leave, especially to the Pelicans. Redick has been such an instrumental piece to Sixers game for years. His shooting ability is one that will be difficult for this team to replace. As for Butler, he’s where he wants to be at the end of the day. Fans showered him with love and passion as well as his own teammates. It seemed fitting for him to stay where he didn’t have to be “The Man”. Isn’t it ironic how that’s who he wants to be?

Whether the team offered him the full five years or not doesn’t matter right now, what matters is how the team prioritized building around Embid and Simmons the right way. Now with day 2 beginning, who knows what to expect? The team currently has a little over $7 million in cap space and there’s also the rumor of wanting to extend Ben Simmons now. Simmons will command a deal of about $170 million for five years.

The Ben Simmons’ extension is the right call. I know many will not agree because of the issue with his shot. Let me remind you that Simmons is only 22-years old and is improving at the right place. Don’t forget how long it took for the leagues current MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, to develop his shot. In time, Ben will be where the team needs him to be. Until then, the smartest move Brand can make would be to extend him as soon as possible. If you’re Brand, why wouldn’t you put your team in the best position to win? Why risk losing your second franchise player? Teams can barely find one these days, the Sixers are lucky to be where they are.

Mandatory Photo credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty

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