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June 30, 2019

Live NBA free agency rumors and news: Jimmy Butler to the Heat, Sixers sign Al Horford

The Sixers may have re-signed Tobias Harris and nabbed Horford, but Butler is taking his talents to South Beach

It's important to remember that NBA free agency doesn't officially begin until 6 p.m. on Sunday night — oh, who the hell are we kidding? That doesn't seem to matter at all.

As of 12:01 a.m. on Sunday morning, several deals — big deals — already appear to be in place, deals that won't be made official until at least July 6. Several of them, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times, are worth north of $100 million, including Klay Thompson re-upping with the Warriors for five years, $190 million, Kristaps Porzingis staying in Dallas for five years, $158 million, and Kyrie Irving (Nets) and Kemba Walker (Celtics) each agreeing to four-year, $141M deals with their new teams.

Additionally, Kevin Durant is expected to announce his decision on Sunday evening.

UPDATE [9:10 p.m.] — After a couple of quiet hours, the Woj bombs began firing again on Sunday night, with news that the Sixers and Heat are completing a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler. The deal will reportedly include Josh Richardson coming to the Sixers in return. 

Our own Kyle Neubeck has much more info on the Butler deal, including details about what the Sixers were willing to offer Butler in an attempt to keep him in Philly. I highly recommend checking that out now. 

Wojnarowski also then immediately reported that the Sixers would be signing veteran free agent Al Horford to a four-year, $109 million deal.

Kyle has more on Horford, here.

UPDATE [7:15 p.m.] — Tobias Harris will return to the Sixers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Kyle Neubeck has more on Harris' deal, here.

In related Sixers news, the Mike Scott Hive can celebrate tonight, as the fan-favorite will be back in Philly for the next two seasons.

UPDATE [6:05 p.m.] — Well, that didn't take long — it appears the Sixers won't be entirely running it back. Within the first minutes of free agency, Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that JJ Redick will be joining the Pelicans on a two-year deal.

Kyle Neubeck has confirmed Woj's report, and you can read more on what that means for the Sixers here.

Additionally, Woj is reporting that the Sixers have started talking about a contract extension with Ben Simmons.

On first glance, this appears like the type of rumor the Sixers would leak so they could have something to hold up to fans should free agency not go the way they'd like. If that's indeed the case, I'd like to think Philly fans are a little smarter than that. Let's also hope it doesn't come to that.

UPDATE [5:30 p.m.] — Kevin Durant has made his decision and will reportedly sign with the Brooklyn Nets, along with Kyrie Irving and De'Andre Jordan.

Looks like the East just got a little tougher.

In addition to the Durant news, David Aldridge is reporting that Tobias Harris, who is seeking a max contract, will meet with the Sixers once free agency opens at 6 p.m.

With much of the Sixers free agency rumors surrounding Jimmy Butler, it will be interesting to see if Harris gets something done quickly with the Sixers or if he opts to take meetings elsewhere. 

UPDATE [3:35 p.m.] — We have some more info on Jimmy Butler's meeting with the Miami Heat, thanks to Marc Stein. Butler will reportedly meet with the Heat on Sunday night at 6:01 p.m., but is still drawing interest from several other teams, including the Lakers.

UPDATE [2:15 p.m.] — This is not the news Sixers fans were hoping to read hours before NBA free agency is set to open. According to the Associated Press' Tim Reynolds, who is based out of Miami, Jimmy Butler is expected to tell the Heat that he wishes to play in Miami.

Of course, Butler to Miami would require a sign-and-trade with the Sixers, so Philly would presumably be getting something back in return — perhaps guys like Goran Dragic or Josh Richardson. Of course, that's little compensation for losing a player of Butler's caliber. 

Also, it's unclear whether or not that reports means that Butler is only interested in signing with the Heat, or if he's still open to signing elsewhere, but is willing to go to Miami in a sign-and-trade. Because Reynolds says it should't come as a surprise (and possibly doesn't mean anything), that probably means it's the latter, because Butler suddenly being laser focused on Miami would be a dramatic shift from the reports that came out just a day earlier. 

Either way, stay tuned, because it looks like the Jimmy Butler-to-Miami rumors have some serious legs. 

UPDATE [1:15 p.m.] — It looks like the Al Horford rumors are picking up some more steam:

As The Athletic's Sam Amick points out, there are a lot of moving parts there, depending on how the Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris situations play out. This is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

The Sixers also reportedly have interest in free agent big man Kyle O'Quinn, who spent last season with the Pacers and averaged just 3.5 points and 2.6 rebounds in 8.2 minutes per game (45 games). In his seven-year career, O'Quinn averages 5.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in 14.4 minutes.

This free agency period will be a big one for the Sixers. Not only are they expected to be busy, as the try to keep (or replace) Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and the rest of their free agents. On top of that, it will also be general manager Elton Brand's first free agency period at the helm for Philly, and it will be interesting to see how the former power forward operates — and, more importantly, what he's able to accomplish. 

We've already written extensively about the Sixers and free agency, and that can help keep you busy during the few rare moments when the news and rumors slow down:

•  Jimmy Butler to meet with Miami, Houston (and Philly)
•  Mailbag: Looking at free agency for Philly, from Butler to smaller pieces
•  Does Al Horford actually make sense for the Sixers?
•  Lakers opening max space makes Sixers' initiative clear — pay up, or else
•  Rockets looking to pick up picks for potential Butler sign-and-trade
•  More Sixers coverage

Otherwise, keep it locked right here for the latest news, rumors and analysis as NBA free agency gets underway.

What he said... 

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