Stephen A. Smith Puts Sixers on Blast for Letting 6-Time All-Star Walk

James Harden, Joel Embiid

Getty James Harden, Joel Embiid

There are some moves the Philadelphia 76ers have made that may make them wonder if they made the right decision. Chief among them was their decision to get rid of Jimmy Butler when they signed and traded him to the Miami Heat in 2019.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith stated that had the Sixers kept Butler, they, at the very least, would have gone further than they have over the past several years.

“If [Jimmy] had never departed from the Philadelphia 76ers and he was a teammate of Joel Embiid, the 76ers wouldn’t be on this drought where they can’t get to a conference finals,” Smith said on the August 31 episode of ESPN’s NBA Today. “They would’ve gotten at the very least to a conference finals by this point if they had kept Jimmy Butler instead of losing him ultimately to the Miami Heat in free agency.”

Ultimately that’s not what happened. Butler has since gone on to make two NBA Finals appearances and three Eastern Conference Finals with the Heat over the past four years, while the Sixers have failed to make it out of the second round.

Ben Simmons Would Welcome Trade Back to Philadelphia

Despite how things ended with Ben Simmons and the Sixers, Simmons vocalized his appreciation for Philadelphia when he admitted that he would welcome a trade back to the Sixers.

“People always ask me like, ‘If you were to get traded again, where you want it to be?’ I always say, ‘Just Philly. Philly is a second home to me,’” Simmons said in an August 29 story by Andscape’s Marc J. Spears. “And in time, you learn and grow as people. I don’t really have anything bad to say about Philly. It was a crazy situation at the end, but it is what it is.”

Though Simmons thought leaving the team was for the best, he said he enjoyed his time with the Sixers.

“I had a lot of fun there. It was time for me to go. When I did leave, it was good timing. Obviously, the injury and everything that was going on didn’t help. But I think it gave me a chance to really appreciate it. I’ll always have love for Philly,” Simmons said, according to Spears.

Tyrese Maxey Would Welcome James Harden Back

On the August 24 episode of “Maxey on the Mic,” Tyrese Maxey commented on the James Harden drama, saying that he’s preparing for whatever happens next.

“I will say this about the situation: to each his own. James, he’s a professional, and he’s doing something for a reason. You just have to kind of sit back and understand what he’s doing as a friend, but then as a teammate and someone as a part of an organization I’m with right now, you have to prepare for whether James is going to be there or not going to be there. That’s just the nature of it.”

Maxey added that while he’s been through this before, he would welcome Harden back should he renege his trade request.

“It’s crazy to say this, but it’s not our first rodeo, honestly. That’s funny to say, but that’s life. James is his own individual, and he’s able to do whatever he pleases. I’m preparing right now to play with him or without him… and I love James. If James decided he’s going to come back and play for us, there’s nobody in this organization that would be upset about that.”

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