The deal will include Josh Richardson to the 76ers, league sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/nWFrg00mtm— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2019
Philadelphia 76ers have traded four time All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat. Early reports by Adrian Wojnarowski indicate that swingman Josh Richardson has been included in the deal. In addition to this bombshell, Al Horford has been signed by the Sixers as well. It was a busy day. The Sixers appeared to not want to pay the luxury tax in order to retain what was the best lineup of last year’s regular season and also one that may very well have beaten the eventual champions had Joel Embiid been fully healthy or they had one or two interesting bench pieces. Butler, who was clearly one of the team’s best players this post-season, and (really the only) primary initiator heads to South Beach, presumably because the Sixers did not want to offer him the 5-year deal he has long-coveted; the one they always knew they’d have to offer simply to justify the cost of ponying up First-Team ALL NBA Defender Robert Covington and Dario Saric to acquire.
Why would the Sixers do this? Well, it’s possible that prioritizing Tobias Harris (who signed a 5-year $180m deal earlier) and keeping Ben Simmons (who was often relegated to the “dunker spot” during the playoffs when Butler was playing the role of the initiator and the ‘closer’) happy, as well as the overall morale of the locker room became the most important goals here. One might expect the Sixers to feed us some soundbytes about team culture, selflessness and frugality soon.
We’ll wait to see more details, but this likely enhances the team’s regular season win total yet significantly limits its championship upside; as now the team has chosen to invest the bulk of its remaining cap-space into a 33 year old center who plays the same position as Joel Embiid. Interesting times ahead. Hopefully they’re not done adding critical pieces.