It now appears the choice had been made before the frenzy of NBA free agency started to spiral on Sunday night.
That decision, by Sixers general manager Elton Brand, was to ride the team into the future on the wide shoulders of 6-10 guard Ben Simmons.
“Chief Beef” didn’t believe that signing Jimmy Butler long term was going to be beneficial to Simmons, now cemented as a foundational piece of this organization along with center Joel Embiid.
While reports vary on whether the Sixers offered Butler a max deal, it doesn’t appear to me that they did and that figuring out a way to have Butler co-exist with Simmons could have stalled the progression of Simmons.
Tuesday it was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski that Summons was going to receive a max contract of five years for $170 million. Now, both Embiid and Simmons – along with Tobias Harris and Al Horford – are locked in to this organization for big money and many years. Like it or not, this process has established something for the first time.
High draft picks and lots of money to lure free agents are things of the past. The core four is here and tweaking now overtakes rebuilding. Even if Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green return to Toronto, I’d still make the Sixers the favorite in the east.
Sure Simmons needs to improve in the shooting area. But I just want to see improvement out to 10 feet for now. Unlike most teams of today, the Sixers can dominate from inside the three-point line and are suspect outside of it. Their defense is designed to run teams off the three line and into rim protectors Embiid and Horford.
They will still look to run the majority of the time on offense in order to create running lanes to the rim and open spot-up jumpers. And for years to come, it will be Simmons running the show.
That is what Brand has chosen.
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