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Rumor: Sixers players mostly liked Jimmy Butler and were open to running it back

Jimmy Butler

Players on the Philadelphia 76ers reportedly mostly liked small forward Jimmy Butler and were open to running it back, but Sixers management wanted to go in another direction, according to Dave Early of Liberty Ballers.

As part of a sign-and-trade deal with the Miami Heat, the Sixers sent Butler to Miami and acquired combo guard Josh Richardson. Philly also traded center Hassan Whiteside to the Portland Trail Blazers for big man Meyers Leonard:

According to the same source the core players mostly liked and got along with Butler. This team insider did not suspect that retaining Butler would have impacted the ensuing contracts signed by Tobias Harris or Ben Simmons. “I think [the core players] were down to run it back. [The team] wanted to go another way.”

The Sixers lost to the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the 2019 playoffs in seven games on a Kawhi Leonard game-winner. Jimmy Butler signed a four-year max deal with the Heat and is the lone All-Star in South Beach.

While Philly lost Butler and JJ Redick, it did sign All-Star power forward Al Horford and re-sign swingman Tobias Harris. The Sixers’ projected starting lineup of Ben Simmons, Richardson, Harris, Horford and Joel Embiid is as good as it gets in the NBA.