The Philadelphia 76ers immediately recovered from losing Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick by trading for Josh Richardson and signing Al Horford.
Some may second-guess whether they ever should have pursued Butler during the 2018-19 season, considering the gamble to trade Robert Covington and Dario Saric for Butler midseason did not yield an Eastern Conference championship or a long-term commitment.
But because Butler wanted to join a Miami Heat team that did not have the necessary cap space to sign him, Philly was able to work out a sign-and-trade that helped them land Richardson on a team-friendly deal. They also had enough cap room to pick up Horford, who declined a player option from the rival Boston Celtics to become an unrestricted free agent.
Horford may not be the most ideal fit alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons since he is not a perfect floor spacer, but he shot 38.2 percent from three-point range during the last three seasons in Boston – proving that the big man is capable of knocking down some shots beyond the arc.
The five-time All-Star is an ace defender who has become more of a center considering the league’s shift to smaller lineups. Now on the Sixers, Horford can shift back to his preferred power forward position (where he’s always felt more comfortable. Horford can lock down frontcourt opponents next to Embiid. When the two big men aren’t sharing the floor together, they can also offer each other valuable, necessary rest.
Still, their biggest move of the offseason was re-signing Tobias Harris. After trading Landry Shamet (as well as future draft picks), losing Harris for nothing could have been a huge problem for the organization. Harris may be tasked with more on-ball action next season sine Butler will no longer be in the picture.
Now, their projecting starting lineup looks like Simmons-Richardson-Harris-Horford-Embiid. Expect them to plug veteran forward Mike Scott into their lineups when they need more shooting or spacing. Kyle O’Quinn, meanwhile, replaces Amir Johnson as a locker-room leader and provides frontcourt depth.
Don’t be surprised if they add a sharpshooting guard who can provide some scoring off the bench, especially if they eventually renounce the rights to TJ McConnell.
Basketball, DunkWire, Free Agency, NBA, Sixers, Al Horford, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Josh Richardson, Kyle O'Quinn, Marial Shayok, Mattise Thybulle, Mike Scott, Shake Milton, Tobias Harris, Zhaire Smith, Philadelphia 76ers