The writing was on the wall for the end of Jimmy Butler’s tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers when Tobias Harris agreed to a five-year, $180 million max contract with the team just one hour into the start of free agency. Now, that end is official with Philadelphia sending Butler to the Miami Heat, and getting swingman Josh Richardson in return. Butler himself agreed to a four-year, $142 million deal with his new team in South Beach. It’s a decision that might have been telegraphed by way of Dwyane Wade tweet.
But that’s not the only recent move that Philadelphia made this fine evening. After shipping off Butler to the south, they turned towards Boston for their next target in free agency: Al Horford.
The move makes for an interesting roster makeup for the Sixers. On the positive side, they no longer have to worry about the prospect of Al Horford shutting down Joel Embiid on the defensive end during the playoffs. On the other side is the fact that the franchise has committed to paying an aging big man about $24 million a year until he’s 37 years old. Good on Horford for securing the bag like that, but it’s hard to imagine that contract looking good around 2022. There’s also the question of how a lineup featuring Embiid, Horford and Simmons will fare in the playoffs, but there’s no need to really concern ourselves with that for another 10 months.
As for Miami, they have fewer questions than Philly to answer now that they’ve acquired a player talented enough to make them playoff contenders at the very least. They also won’t have to necessarily concern themselves with the final years of Butler’s max deal since it’ll end when he’s 35 and his game isn’t one that’ll age too rapidly. There’s always going to be a concern over his temperament and how that might affect the locker room, but given that the Heat’s culture has a strong track record of seriously whipping players into shape (i.e. James Johnson) it seems like Butler’s borderline antagonistic approach to trying to make his teammates work harder could fit right at home with his new team.