The Philadelphia 76ers made some interesting moves to open NBA Free Agency. It appears despite losing Jimmy Butler the Sixers roster has come out for the better. Outside of Butler leaving there are plenty of pieces for the Sixers to utilize moving forward. General Manager Elton Brand is feeling the heat but so far has managed to hold steady. Looking at the current roster are the 76ers ready for a championship run?
Butler experiment comes to an end
In the 55 games Butler played in Philadelphia he was a legend. He averaged 18.2 points per game and embodied Philadelphia sports. His attitude, style of play and everything you could want Butler displayed. However, at the end of the day, the 29-year-old made a business decision. The sunny beaches in South Beach or the City of Brotherly Love. Butler elected to go with the Miami Heat turning down the Sixers max five-year $190 million offer.
However, all hope is not lost. The Sixers and Heat executed a sign and trade allowing the Sixers to acquire Josh Richardson from Miami. In the end, Butler cost the Sixers Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Jerryd Bayless, and a 2022 second rounder. However, you can’t fault Philly for this move. An attempt to win it all knowing the risk and Butler made his decision. They very easily could have come away with nothing in exchange for Butler.
Enemies become friends
The 76ers added former Boston Celtics Forward Al Horford on a four-year 109 million dollar deal. The Embiid stopper as he has been referred to will now join Embiid on the front line. This is a very good signing for many reasons for the Sixers. Horford may not be what he once was but he provides a great veteran presence. He was a member of the Atlanta Hawks 60 win team and was a key cog in the Celtics attack the past three seasons.
The Five-time All-Star averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists across 68 games. He also shot 36% from three-point range and added 1.3 blocks per game. Horford now joins his third team. Now, this may be a bit pricey but the benefits and potential fit with this team could be worth the gamble.
The return in the Butler deal
As mentioned earlier Richardson will be making his way up north in return for Butler. This is an excellent move for Philly as Richardson has potential to be a Butler type player. Last season for the Heat the 25-year-old averaged a career-high 16.6 points per game in 73 games. He also made numerous great plays on defense. Richardson slides in as the starting shooting guard and provides another athletic defender with three-point potential for Philly. Richardson shot 35 percent from downtown last season.
Furthermore, Richardson should prove to be a valuable upgrade over JJ Redick who left for New Orleans. While he doesn’t have the experience or knock down shooting ability of Redick his energy and intensity on the defensive end makes the Sixers one of the best defensive units in the league.
Is this roster ready for a championship run?
The 76ers were able to sign Tobias Harris to a five-year $180 million dollar deal. With their lineup complete here’s how it will look this year.
With the pickup of Horford and the resigning of Tobias Harris, the Sixers remain as one of the favorites to come out of the East in 2020. The core of Embiid, Ben Simmons, Horford and Harris is now signed through 2022-23. The average height of this lineup is 6’8. Now offensively it will be a challenge at times however from a defensive standpoint this team that was already great last year should excel again. As long as Embiid is healthy this team certainly has a championship run in them.
Kevin Durant is out this year so the Brooklyn Nets may not be ready yet. Until Kawhi Leonard makes his decision the East is wide open. The Boston Celtics added Kemba Walker, The Milwaukee Bucks still have Giannis and the Raptors are the defending champs. This should be a fun season as parity is back in the NBA. Will the 76ers celebrate an NBA Title this season?