The Philadelphia 76ers face a battle to retain top free agent guard Jimmy Butler, but they’re ready to do whatever is necessary to do so.
Butler will decline his player option for next season, according to Chris B. Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The Sixers, however, are “adamant about doing whatever it takes” to keep Butler in the fold.
Butler hitting the open market will prove to be a headache for the 76ers, as he figures to attract multiple max offers. The report lists the Los Angeles Lakers as one interested party. Philadelphia also must balance this with their desire to keep another key free agent in Tobias Harris.
Intentionally or not, Butler has ramped up speculation that he’s already played his last game with the Sixers. He’ll attract lots of interest, and Philadelphia might have a tough time retaining him.
The Sacramento Kings entered Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery with an outside chance at having an old trade blow up in their face more than it already has, but the unlikely scenario that would have haunted them did not play out. And let’s just say they were not exactly humble about it.
In 2015, the Kings made a move to create salary cap space to sign free agents by trading Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Nik Stauskas and their 2019 first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers then traded the pick with top-one protection to the Boston Celtics two years ago to trade up to No. 1 for Markelle Fultz. Had Sacramento’s pick ended up at No. 1 this year, they would have had to send it to Philly. Instead, they landed at No. 14 and the Celtics got the pick.
The 2015 trade is already viewed as a bust for the Kings, as they failed to build a winning team around DeMarcus Cousins and ended up shipping him off, too. That didn’t stop their social media team from trolling the 76ers over not getting the No. 1 overall pick on Tuesday.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) May 15, 2019
How did the Sixers respond? By reminding the Kings that the reason they weren’t eliminated from the playoffs on a Kawhi Leonard buzzer-beater is because they didn’t get there.
Playoffs are like that, you kn- oh… nvm.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) May 15, 2019
In summary, the Kings had no chance at landing a first-round pick on Tuesday. However, it would have been a complete shot to the gut if they ended up at No. 1 and had to send the pick to Philly. That would have been yet another reminder of what a disaster their 2015 trade was.
For whatever reason, the Kings and 76ers have a history of trading shots on social media. Sacramento’s latest wasn’t a great look, however, as they were basically bragging about their trade being just bad rather than a potential franchise destroyer.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets got into a skirmish during the third quarter of Game 4 of their first-round playoff series on Saturday over a hard foul by Joel Embiid on Jarrett Allen that resulted in the ejection of two players.
Matters began when Embiid swatted at Allen hard as the Nets forward went up for a layup in the third quarter, knocking him to the ground. Jared Dudley did not like the hard foul on his teammate and shoved Embiid. Jimmy Butler didn’t like Dudley shoving Embiid, so he shoved Dudley. Ben Simmons got involved as well and pushed Dudley into the crowd. The two have some beef that has been ongoing throughout the playoff series.
Here’s a look at the incident:
— 69 (@ftbeard_17) April 20, 2019
Embiid was called for a flagrant 1 foul, while Jared Dudley and Jimmy Butler were ejected for escalating the incident.
If the Nets can trade Dudley for Butler, that’s an advantage to them since Butler is one of Philly’s top players. The 76ers lead the first-round playoff series 2-1.
It’s been a testy series between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, and that showed no sign of stopping in the leadup up Saturday’s Game 4.
The early flashpoint for this one came via the coaches, as Sixers coach Brett Brown was slow in announcing his starting lineup. That rubbed Nets coach Kenny Atkinson the wrong way, and he essentially said that two could play at that game.
A little agitation from Kenny Atkinson over Brett Brown delaying his lineup announcement:
"We’ve got to figure that one out as a league. Normally I give it 60 at the clock, but I’m not going to do that again. Let’s wait. When they gives theirs, we’ll give ours."
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) April 20, 2019
Brett Brown's response: "It goes both ways." https://t.co/JilXL1aruE
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) April 20, 2019
This is a series that has involved a lot of trash-talking and ongoing subplots of that manner. Now there’s even some tensions between the two coaches. Might we be witnessing the start of a new Eastern Conference rivalry?
The Philadelphia 76ers made quick work of the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 of their first round playoff series on Thursday night. What they had more trouble with was figuring out who cut the cheese.
TNT flashed to the Sixers’ bench during the fourth quarter of their 131-115 win. Joel Embiid, Amir Johnson and Zhaire Smith were all inactive for the game and sitting on the bench when a foul smell seemed to creep up. They then acted like some guys trying to figure out who farted:
Ok, who farted? pic.twitter.com/OCWeZesPvC
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) April 19, 2019
The reactions from many of the players were emphatic, except for one: Amir Johnson. Either he has clogged sinuses in addition to a knee injury or … we may have our culprit.
This is still a much better bench activity for them than what happened over the weekend.
- Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers began their postseason run with a home loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, and they once again played poorly for stretches in the first half of Game 2 on Monday night. With his team clinging to a one-point lead at halftime, Sixers head coach Brett Brown had seen enough.
After Philly allowed the Nets to attempt 23 three-pointers in the first half, Brown was so disgusted with his team’s defensive effort that he unloaded on them in the locker room. Rich Hoffman of The Athletic says five Sixers players agreed it was the angriest they had ever seen their coach. Jimmy Butler had nothing but positive things to say about the rant.
“Yeah, he came in here, said a few cuss words, shocked me a little bit to tell you the truth. But I like it, that’s the type of energy I love,” Butler said. “He just made sure everybody did their job, letting them know you can’t have it, it’s not winning basketball.
“I love the s—. I love when people get cussed out, yelled at and say, ‘You can’t do it, it’s your fault.’ I’m all for it.”
Mike Scott said cussing players out and holding them accountable is “good basketball.” Tobias Harris, who made a defensive mistake that led to an open three-pointer for Spencer Dinwiddie in the first half, was also all for it.
“We came out and we responded to it and that was a big step for us as a team, coming out of the locker room responding (to) what coach had to say,” Harris said. “Get stops on the defensive end and get that to fuel our offense. And that was the key to the game for us.”
Whatever Brown said, it worked. The 76ers tied an NBA playoff record with 51 points in the third quarter and completely took over the game. Between the poor defensive effort and the cell phone incident he had to deal with in Game 1, Brown obviously reached his boiling point. It’s a good thing he did.
The Philadelphia 76ers got embarrassed at home in Game 1 of their first round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, losing 111-102 in a game where they pretty much trailed by double digits the entire way. The home crowd was on them early, booing at various points throughout the game, including when Ben Simmons missed two free throws in the third quarter.
Simmons was not a huge factor. He finished the game with only nine points, but most of those came on open, assisted dunks after the game outcome was largely decided in the fourth quarter. He had three assists to go with three turnovers, and that marks his career low in the postseason. Simmons has been an all-around stat sheet stuffer who does a little bit of everything as a tall point guard, except, well, shoot from outside. But in the postseason, good teams can take things away and expose weaknesses. It happened again.
After the game, Simmons was not feeling the home crowd. Here’s what he had to say:
“If you’re a #Sixers fan and you’re gonna boo, stay on that side” @BenSimmons25 with a message to the Boo Birds after the @sixers we’re embarrassed in Game 1 of the #NBAPlayoffs @6abc pic.twitter.com/hD3vF3Llq5
— Jamie Apody (@JamieApody) April 13, 2019
Jimmy Butler, described by head coach Brett Brown during the broadcast as “the adult in the room,” was the only member of the 76ers who really showed up, as his 36 points easily led the team (only Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic were also in double digit scoring).
Philadelphia already came into the playoffs with some uncertainty thanks to Embiid’s injury status. He ended up playing in Game 1, going 24 minutes, but he was clearly not at 100 percent and had to take some frequent breaks, even once caught checking messages on a phone.
Simmons, meanwhile, is going to be a lightning rod after these fan comments after a game where he finished with a team-worst -21 in plus/minus (along with J.J. Redick). That continues a troubling trend from last postseason. In last year’s Celtics series, Simmons was -63 in a five-game series where the Celtics only outscored the 76ers by 15 total points.
Philadelphia finished the game by shooting only three of 25 from three-point range. If you are going to draw up how the Nets are going to win this series, it will be by Philadelphia struggling from distance and failing to play team defense with determination, and the fans turning against them. The Brooklyn Nets are in many ways the anti-76ers. They don’t have a bunch of home grown top picks thanks to undertaking a process, and they did not add an All-NBA player in Jimmy Butler. They have a bunch of guys who other teams gave up on, and yet everyone contributed and the their bench in Game 1 scored a whopping 59 points.
Suddenly, Game 2 looms very large already as a referendum on this group of players in Philadelphia, and on whether Simmons has the personality to excel in the postseason. With Embiid limited, Simmons really needs to show up so Jimmy Butler does not have to do it all.