Jacari McRae | July 20th, 2019
After acquiring both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris during the 2018-19 season, the Philadelphia 76ers believed they had a great shot at an NBA championship. However, those hopes were squashed with Kawhi Leonard‘s lucky bounce at the buzzer in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Soon after, both Butler and Harris were headed towards free agency with their futures in Philadelphia becoming uncertain.
Harris ended up staying, re-signing on a five-year $190 million deal. But Butler decided to move on and sign with the Miami Heat. Both the 76ers and Heat were able to agree to a sign and trade that sent Butler to the Heat and Josh Richardson to Philadelphia. While there are 76ers fans who believe the move was cowardly, Harris thinks differently.
“As a fan and a friend,” Tobias said. “I always hoped a friend to be happy. He [Butler] seemed very happy about the move. And I know he’s going to like Miami and Miami is going to love him as a player and what he brings to the table. I wish him nothing but the best.”
Tobias Harris on Jimmy Butler leaving the 76ers during his NBPA camp event pic.twitter.com/Mz5SKDqvtq
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) July 18, 2019
There have been mixed reports of Butler being offered a max contract by Philadelphia that would’ve been worth $190 million over five years. Regardless of whether that was true or not, Butler decided signing the four-year $142 million maximum deal with Miami was the best move.
Despite losing Butler, the 76ers were able to sign Al Horford to a four-year $110 million deal. With this move, the 76ers will likely remain as one of the top contenders in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat, meanwhile, is aggressively searching the trade market for a second star to pair up with Butler. Miami’s biggest trade target is Bradley Beal, who will be able to sign a three-year $111 extension on July 26. The Washington Post’s Candace Buckner reported that Beal will likely turn it down and has heard from one league insider that Beal may want out of Washington. Should Beal become available, the Washington Wizards asking price is expected to be very high. Because of this, and the Heat’s lack of picks to trade, the Heat’s best bet may be to take on John Wall‘s four-year $172 million contract.
Miami also pursued a deal for Russell Westbrook, before he was ultimately traded to the Houston Rockets. The Heat then had talks with the Oklahoma City Thunder about Chris Paul, but the Thunder was unwilling to give back the Heat’s two first-round picks in return.
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