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'Tough decisions to make' as Sixers, free agents approach July

Keith Pompey, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Basketball

There was a time when the logical thing to do for the 76ers and their impending free agents was to run it back.

The belief was that Sixers would re-sign Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to five-year, maximum-salary deals and lock in JJ Redick on a multiyear deal. The plan was to keep their core group, which includes All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, intact for an NBA title run this upcoming season.

But the players and team will have options when free agency begins at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

"They have tough decisions to make and so do we," Sixers general manager Elton Brand said.

The Sixers need to shore up the backup point guard and center positions. They could also use a power forward who can fill in for Embiid at center if need be.

"We definitely need hard-nose players, shooting," Brand said of sought-after free agents. "We want to add shooting. If you watch the playoffs, these are playoff-tested players ... I don't want to say names ... but (the Sixers want) veteran-tested players, playoff-tested players that can take us over the edge with our talent."

 

Don't be surprised if the Sixers attempt to pursue Boston's Al Horford, Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon, and Toronto's Danny Green among others if they don't bring all of their top free agents back. The team has some level of interest in all three players.

Harris and Redick are unrestricted free agents. Butler will join them once he opts out of the final year of his contract. All three are garnering interest throughout the league.

Butler is the All-Star, but Harris, 26, will be the more sought-after free agent due to being younger and having less baggage.

Butler didn't get along with younger players in his stops with Chicago and Minnesota. And while the Sixers downplayed it, teams are concerned about his well-publicized verbal altercation with coach Brett Brown. Yet, he's proven to be a valuable member for a team making a postseason push.

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