76ers Rumors: Team Focused on Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, JJ Redick Contracts

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 19, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler warms up before the start of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, April 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

The Philadelphia 76ers are entering a crucial offseason with three significant question marks they need to answer going into free agency. 

During ESPN's mock draft special Tuesday, Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Sixers intend to offer Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick contracts with the hope of keeping their core group together. 

Since the Sixers acquired Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers in February, they've maintained their desire to keep their roster largely intact beyond the 2018-19 season. 

In February, general manager Elton Brand told reporters he had "gotten all assurances" from the 76ers' managing partners that they were willing to pony up to retain both Butler and Harris.

The Sixers will have competition for Butler, as Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported the Los Angeles Lakers intend to pursue the four-time All-Star. 

If the Lakers decide to divvy up their remaining cap space rather than give Butler the max deal it would likely require to sign him, Redick could be an option to boost their three-point shooting. 

The Athletic's Jordan Brenner speculated Harris could be on the Milwaukee Bucks' radar if Khris Middleton leaves the reigning Central Division champions. 

The 76ers could end up surpassing the projected $132 million luxury-tax threshold if they bring Butler, Harris and Redick back. They'd face an even more punitive tax bill in 2020 and beyond if they sign All-Star point guard Ben Simmons to an extension.

Despite the exorbitant cost to bring back the core group, it's easy to understand why it would be appealing. The Sixers took the Toronto Raptors to seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals before losing on Kawhi Leonard's series-ending buzzer-beater.

If Leonard leaves the Raptors this summer in free agency, the 76ers might the best team in the East with a starting five of Butler, Harris, Redick, Simmons and Joel Embiid.