When the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Tobias Harris before last season’s trade deadline, most believed that they had the best starting lineup in the Eastern Conference(Embiid, Harris, Butler, Redick, Simmons). The 76ers rolled through the Nets in 5 in the first round, and had the Raptors down 2-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals, before losing at the buzzer in 7 after Kawhi Leonard’s improbable shot.
Looking back on things, if Leonard does not make that shot, and Philadelphia wins Game 7 in OT, the 76ers, and not the Raptors, could have been NBA champions. Philadelphia gave Toronto their longest and probably their toughest series, and if Philly pulls it out, they had a decent shot at beating both the Bucks and Warriors.
According to ESPN’s Amin Elhassan, the 76ers might be thinking they let one slip away.
“I think Philly, first of all, probably sits and thinks to themselves that, ‘we could have won an NBA championship. We came the closest to beating the Toronto Raptors out of all the teams that played them,”‘ Elhassan recently told Paul Gant.
With free agency right around the corner, the 76ers have to determine what they want to do with free agents Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. Do they give them both max contracts or will they pick one over the other? That is a question the 76ers have to answer, according to Elhassan.
“You gotta ask yourself do you have the wherewithal, the appetite to pay both of those guys, both of those free agents,’ Elhassan said. “Tobias is younger; Jimmy is probably more versatile given his defensive ability. That’s a big question mark, and if you don’t have the appetite to pay them or at least pay them the full five years which both of them are seeking, then you to have to live with the possibility that someone is going to come in and offer them a deal that they can’t refuse.”
With Golden State in a state of flux, this is the time to go after an NBA title. Butler and Harris make the 76ers a formidable team. Plus, with the uncertainty surrounding Joel Embiid’s health, you don’t know how long your championship window will be open. Should be interesting to see how it plays out come June 30.
Listen to the complete interview with Elhassan below: