The Heat eliminated the Sixers from the playoffs with a 99–90 victory in Game 6 Friday night. And while the win was just another step for most of Miami’s players, it was personal to their biggest star.
When heading into the locker room after the buzzer sounded, Jimmy Butler had a message for Philadelphia.
“Tobias Harris over me?” he screamed.
Butler is clearly still a little bothered by Philadelphia approached his free agency a few years ago. He was traded to the Sixers in November of 2018, and led Philadelphia to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals that year.
However, when Butler reached free agency in July, Philadelphia chose to re-sign Tobias Harris to a five-year, $180 million contract instead. Butler ended up in Miami on a four-year, $142 million deal, and he agreed to another four-year, $184 million extension recently.
Philadelphia’s decision to let Butler go also appeared to have to do with the team’s commitment to Ben Simmons, who was a huge piece of the organization at the time. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports the organization felt it had to choose between the two.
Butler has mentioned how happy he is to be with the Heat despite the journey that got him there. He reached the NBA Finals in his first year with the team, and has averaged over 21 points in back-to-back seasons.
While Miami and Butler continue their pursuit for another championship, the Sixers face an uncertain future. They shipped out Simmons for James Harden, and now must decide if Harden is the right fit next to Joel Embiid for the foreseeable future.
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