The Philadelphia 76ers made a couple of big in-season moves to try and vault themselves into title contention during the 2018-19 campaign, landing both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris in separate trades.
But, neither deal was enough to put the 76ers over the top, as they were bounced in the second round of the playoffs for the second straight year.
Philadelphia is also entering a crucial offseason, as both Butler and Harris will be free agents, and most feel that at least one of the two will end up playing their basketball elsewhere next year.
So, just what will the Sixers do this summer?
Here are three predictions for the 76ers in the coming months:
3. They’ll Add Perimeter Shooting
One of the biggest downfalls for the 76ers this season was their lack of perimeter shooting.
Aside from J.J. Redick and sometimes Harris, the Sixers lacked three-point threats, which allowed defenses to pack the paint and stymie Philly’s offense at times.
Redick is a free agent, and the 76ers will surely re-sign him, but Redick alone isn’t enough. Philadelphia needs at least one more perimeter threat, and preferably two.
Adding some shooters will make life a whole lot easier for Joel Embiid and will also mitigate Ben Simmons’ complete lack of a jump shot, something that severely handicapped their offense throughout the year.
2. They Won’t Overpay for Tobias Harris
Here is the thing with Harris: he is a good scorer and floor spacer, but not much else. He isn’t a particularly good creator. He doesn’t rebound the ball all that well. He also is not a good defender.
Also, the Los Angeles Clippers actually got better after trading him to the 76ers at the deadline, so that right there should tell you just how valuable he really is.
This isn’t to say that Harris is a bum, because he is certainly a nice piece on a contending team, but he is also not someone you would want to give $188 million to, which is the max salary he would be able to receive from Philadelphia.
Given that that deal would be over the course of five years, that puts Harris at about $38 million per season, which is a ridiculous number for a guy who really is a glorified role player.
The thought here is that the Sixers will only re-sign him at a team-friendly number, and $38 million annually is certainly not team-friendly.
1. They’ll Lose Jimmy Butler
The prevailing thought seems to be that Jimmy Butler will be playing his basketball somewhere else for the 2019-20 campaign, and that is also the idea here.
Many feel that Butler has the desire to head to Los Angeles, and the idea of Butler potentially teaming up with Kawhi Leonard on the Clippers is simply tantalizing to think about.
Butler’s numbers were suppressed in Philly, as he not only had to share the ball with three other guys who needed their shots, but because of the aforementioned horrific floor spacing.
These guys do care about their statistics along with winning, so that is almost surely weighing on Butler’s mind as he approaches free agency.
Losing Butler would not be the worst thing in the world, either, as he is 30 years old, has injury issues and will be very, very expensive.