Report: 76ers wanted 'solid player' in Tobias Harris because of uncertainty surrounding Jimmy Butler - Heat Nation

Report: 76ers wanted ‘solid player’ in Tobias Harris because of uncertainty surrounding Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris

The Miami Heat have made deep playoff runs in two of the past three seasons partly because of Jimmy Butler.

Before heading to the Heat, Butler played 55 games for the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2018-19 season. Given the Heat’s success with the six-time All-Star on their roster, many Sixers fans are probably wondering how well Philadelphia would have performed in recent years if the team did not let him go in the 2019 offseason.

However, Butler’s brief tenure in Philadelphia reportedly did not go that smoothly. There had apparently been some uncertainty regarding his future with the team, which partly led to the Sixers trading for Tobias Harris around the trade deadline that season.

“And even though fans are still upset with Butler’s departure, everything wasn’t rosy during his brief tenure in Philly,” wrote Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Sources say the uncertainty surrounding Butler’s future that regular season was part of the reason they traded for Harris. Sources also said that the team was looking to land a solid player because of Butler’s wanting to get traded prior to the February deadline.”

Philadelphia had to give up a lot to land Harris, who had been averaging 20.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in the 2018-19 campaign. It sent the Los Angeles Clippers three rotation players and future draft picks to acquire the veteran forward.

Harris continued to play solidly after the trade. In 27 games he played in a Sixers uniform that season, he posted averages of 18.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per contest.

Philadelphia ended the season with a 51-31 record, good for third in the East. In the playoffs, it reached the Eastern Conference semifinals, where it faced the eventual champions Toronto Raptors. The Sixers had a chance to send the game into overtime in Game 7. But Kawhi Leonard’s buzzer-beater in the face of Philadelphia star Joel Embiid gave the Raptors a two-point win.

In the ensuing offseason, the Heat acquired Butler via sign and trade.

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