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Jimmy Butler Says ‘Tobias Harris over Me?’ on Video after Heat Beat 76ers

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler had a
question after his team eliminated the Philadelphia 76ers from the 2022 NBA
playoffs on Thursday night: “Tobias Harris over me?”

In July 2019, the Sixers sent Butler to
Miami as part of a sign-and-trade deal while signing Harris to a
five-year, $180 million contract extension.

Clearly, the six-time All-Star didn’t
forget Philly’s decision after Game 6:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

“Tobias Harris over me?” 🗣<br><br>Jimmy sending a message to his former team<br><br>(via <a href=”https://twitter.com/Local10Sports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Local10Sports</a>)<a href=”https://t.co/o63mdgzb2y”>pic.twitter.com/o63mdgzb2y</a>

While the choice was often painted as
Butler or Harris, behind the scenes it was apparently a different story.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported
Wednesday that Ben Simmons became “disenfranchised by Butler’s
playing and leadership style,” which led the front office to
believe it had to choose at the time between a 22-year-old point guard who was seemingly on
the ascent and a 29-year-old forward perhaps already at his peak.

The Sixers chose Simmons, now 25, who was
traded to the Brooklyn Nets in February after sitting out the entire
season because of a back injury and focusing on his mental health.

So Butler, 32, could have just as easily
said, “Ben Simmons over me?” and the message would have been the
same, but he opted to focus on Harris.

Here’s a look at how the two players
performed in the series:

  • Butler: 27.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 51.5 FG%
  • Harris: 16.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.5 SPG, 47.8 FG%

And most importantly, Butler’s Heat are
moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Sixers made a lot of decisions over
the past few years that centered around the idea of keeping Simmons
and Joel Embiid as their core. While Embiid blossomed into an MVP
candidate, the team’s relationship with Simmons faltered after last
year’s playoff exit.

They were able to salvage the situation
to an extent by getting James Harden from the Nets, but his playoff
struggles (18.6 PPG on 40.5 percent shooting) raise a new set of
questions heading into the offseason.

It may lead the Philadelphia front
office to ask another question while watching Butler play in the next
round of the postseason: “What if?”

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