The Philadelphia 76ers entered the 2018-19 NBA season with the hope of taking advantage of LeBron James’ departure from the Eastern Conference and bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy to the City of Brotherly Love. The Sixers strengthened their chance of contending for the NBA championship title when they acquired Jimmy Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers.
Unfortunately, despite having one of the most talented rosters in the league, the Sixers still fell short of achieving their main goal after being eliminated by the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Since the 2018-19 NBA season officially ended for the Sixers, rumors and speculations have started to circulate around incoming free agents Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler. According to Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, the Sixers’ No. 1 priority in the 2019 NBA offseason is to re-sign both Harris and Butler in free agency.
That’s isn’t surprising at all, especially knowing the trade assets the Sixers gave up to bring Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to Philadelphia. However, though the Sixers have already expressed their willingness to pay the luxury tax bill, Smith revealed that they may still end up losing at least one of the superstars, as Butler and Harris reportedly “don’t want to co-exist.”
“They swear up and down that they want to keep them, keep him and Tobias Harris,” Smith said, as quoted by The Spun. “I’m told him and Tobias Harris don’t want to co-exist, so it’s going to be one or the other.”
Jimmy Butler is spending his time relaxing and painting ahead of free agency. https://t.co/I8cT4bgLJW— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) June 23, 2019
In a recent appearance on The Full 48 podcast, Howard Beck of Bleacher Report echoed Stephen A. Smith’s statement and added that if things don’t go as planned, the Sixers could lose not just one, but both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris in the 2019 NBA free agency.
“I have heard some very strong rumblings this week that the Sixers are gonna lose one—and maybe even both—of Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler,” Beck said, as transcribed by Sixers Wire. “Take it with all due grains of salt, we’re talking about this still on June 21, but I would not be surprised if Jimmy Butler and/or Tobias Harris go elsewhere. The Sixers just have some strange dynamics with that group.”
Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris are expected to receive plenty of interest once they become officially available on the trade market. Harris has been frequently linked to the Nets, while Butler has recently been mentioned in trade rumors involving the Houston Rockets. Though multiple signs are pointing out that both superstars could leave, the Sixers are still expected to do everything they can to keep their core intact this summer.