Ben Simmons isn’t shying away from his interest in bringing back the whole 2018-19 Philadelphia 76ers group. While multiple players, including Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick are all likely to become free agents, Simmons sounded off on the season and gave a quick comment on the future as well.
Sunday night, the Sixers guard thanked the team’s fans and staff on Instagram while tossing one hashtag which grabbed quite a bit of attention on the end.
While the #runitback comment is noteworthy on its own, it appears he has a few teammates who are on board with that idea as well. Specifically, two of the key names whose futures remain up in the air – Butler and Harris.
Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris Like Ben Simmons’ Post
Obviously, this doesn’t mean anything is set in stone, but it’s certainly noteworthy to see both Butler and Harris like the post from Simmons. Reddit user J_Brizzle was the first to notice the likes from the Sixers teammates.
There’s certainly a chance that Butler and Harris were just showing love and appreciation to the fans and team’s staff, but it’s never too early to start the free agency chatter. Butler, who was acquired early in the year from the Minnesota Timberwolves, has a player option for the 2019-20 season worth just over $19.84 million, per Spotrac. It’s expected that he’ll opt out and seek a max deal in free agency.
As for Harris, he was acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers just prior to the NBA trade deadline in a move which many believed put the Sixers “all-in” on the 2018-19 season. While Harris is also expected to receive a number of offers in free agency, it’s unknown if he’ll receive a max deal, but it seems likely.
Jimmy Butler & Tobias Harris Free Agency Outlook
If the Sixers do opt to make a push to re-sign Butler and/or Harris, they’re going to have plenty of competition for both. Butler has already been linked to a number of teams, including the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, among others. While he’ll be a highly-prioritized target for many teams, the 29-year-old guard will come with a high price tag as well.
As for Harris, The Athletic’s Shams Charania spoke about his impending free agency, citing the Sixers, but also pointing out a few teams who are expected to have interest.
“Tobias Harris, meanwhile, is a native of New York and was intrigued by Philadelphia over the course of this season, dating back to his time with the Clippers. Around the league, executives believe several other teams, such as Memphis, Utah, Dallas and Brooklyn, will also provide competition for Harris.”
One thing that appears to be certain is that the Sixers are going to need to fork over big money to bring both Butler and Harris back. Whether they opt to go that route this offseason remains the top question, though.