10 bold predictions for 2019 NBA free agency

Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images /
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NBA free agency
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images /

4. The Philadelphia 76ers will lose all three of their main free agents

This is the doomsday scenario for the Philadelphia 76ers, but it’s not as implausible as it sounds on paper. The Sixers were one unlucky bounce (okay, maybe it was six) away from potentially moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals, and that was with two major new additions only playing together for a couple of months. Keeping it together makes sense, and that’s what Philly will try to do.

However, with Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and J.J. Redick all hitting free agency this summer, that’s a pretty hefty luxury tax bill for a team that may not be good enough to win a title, even with the league suddenly wide open. Even worse, the competition for their high-profile free agents will be fierce.

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  • On the Jimmy Butler front, his name has been mentioned in conjunction with the Los Angeles Clippers (possible Kawhi Leonard team-up?), New York Knicks (they’re desperate for somebody at this point) and Houston Rockets (that sign-and-trade feels unlikely, but never doubt Daryl Morey).

    Tobias Harris is expected to have eight other suitors, and if the Sixers even slightly hesitate to offer him the max, any leverage they had — especially if Butler wants out — is kaput. His numbers dipped a bit in Philly, and he may want a more active role elsewhere with one of the many teams that has max cap space and will be aiming for the second tier of free agents at the start of free agency. Paying the max for a fourth or fifth option is also less than ideal from Philly’s perspective.

    Then there’s J.J. Redick, who’s being overlooked in this whole conversation about the Sixers given how his 3-point shooting and floor-spacing provide oxygen for this team’s offense. He could easily get lost in the shuffle after signing consecutive one-year, high-priced deals. If he’s fed up, wants a new situation or the Sixers simply have their attention elsewhere, another team could easily swoop in.

    Bearing all that in mind, would anyone be surprised if someone scooped up Harris, Butler pushed for a sign-and-trade to Houston and Redick got swept away by the waves while all this was going down? More than likely, the answer should be “yes, everyone,” but that’s what bold predictions are for.