Six players flanked Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris and general manager Elton Brand on a dais inside the team’s practice facility as the Sixers held a news conference Friday morning to celebrate their busy summer.
It was an impressive array of talent, including five-time All-Star Al Horford; one of the league’s better young two-way wing players, Josh Richardson; and Tobias Harris, who the team re-signed earlier this month. What was missing, though, was Jimmy Butler — the player Philadelphia acquired last season to be the closer in high-pressure playoff moments. And, for all the moves the Sixers made, it’s unclear who will replace him.
But by bestowing Harris with a five-year, $180 million deal earlier this month, and with the franchise likely to agree to a max contract extension with Ben Simmons on a five-year max deal worth about $170 million, the Sixers are clearly hoping the two of them will be the ones to do so.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china
The Sixers sprouted into a contender in the Eastern Conference virtually overnight two years ago, going from a team that was at the bottom of the standings for four straight seasons into one that broke the 50-win threshold and made the second round of the playoffs. That sudden transformation, coupled with losing to the Boston Celtics in the postseason, led Brand to trade for both Butler and Harris last season in a pair of all-in moves.
Butler, in particular, was a crucial component of Philadelphia’s playoff run — a run that came within a stray bounce (or four of them, to be precise, from the hand of Kawhi Leonard) of the 76ers perhaps making a run to the NBA Finals.
Now, though, Philadelphia believes this new-look group — one with Richardson and Horford replacing Butler and JJ Redick in the team’s starting lineup — has the right mix to finally lift the Sixers to their first NBA Finals appearance since Allen Iverson got them there in 2001.cheap nfl jerseys nike china
Before being traded to Philadelphia last season, Harris averaged a career-high 20.9 points on 49.6 percent shooting overall and 43.4 percent shooting from behind the 3-point arc in 55 games for the LA Clippers. That’s production Harris believes he can replicate in Philadelphia now that he enters the season with newfound stability thanks to his new deal.
“I’m looking forward to that a whole lot,” Harris said of his increased role. “I know last year when you come over from a trade and it’s a different talent level in the group, obviously you have to sacrifice for the unit. But I know my game and I know how I continue to improve year after year.
“I can come into next year with that kind of energy, that kind of fire to improve my game and show different parts of my game, too. Obviously I’ll have the ball in my hands in more different situations and I’m ready for that. I’ve been working out all summer to get ready for that.”