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Sixers get credit from NBA personnel for pivoting after loss of Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler, Al Horford, Josh Richardson

An ESPN survey was recently held among NBA personnel to assess the most outstanding team performances this offseason. As it turns out, a lot of execs consider the Philadelphia 76ers to be one of the biggest winners of the summer.

The Sixers were widely expected to re-sign superstar Jimmy Butler to a multi-year deal, but as it turns out, the former Most Improved Player of the Year winner already had his heart set for a move to the Miami Heat. Not only was this one of the shocks of the summer, but for a number of NBA people, what impressed them the most was how Philadelphia bounced back from what seemed like quite a problematic situation:

“With Jimmy walking, to be able to scramble around and get Tobias [Harris], Josh, Horford … I think they made something out of a tough situation,” a Western Conference scout said, via ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “They couldn’t bring back both [Butler and Harris]. They weren’t good enough.”

The Sixers were able to get Josh Richardson back in the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade, and they pulled off a coup by getting Al Horford. This was also something that caught a lot of experts off guard:

“I didn’t see Miami giving up Richardson to sign Jimmy Butler,” an Eastern Conference executive said, “and I didn’t see the Sixers punting on Jimmy to replace him with Al Horford.”

Philly did lose JJ Redick as well, but these other acquisitions and the re-signing of Tobias Harris helps mitigate this. Because of their successful summer spree, the Sixers have now become one of the favorites to go all the way this season. It was hard to imagine how Philadelphia was going to improve significantly from last season, but kudos to general manager Elton Brand and company for the tremendous work they’ve done this summer.