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May 28, 2019

NBA free agency odds: Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris favored to stay with Sixers

In this week's edition of Whose Line Is It Anyway, where everything's made up and the points don't matter (unless you put down a bet), it appears Las Vegas favors the Sixers to keep both of their big free agents this summer. Whether that actually means anything or not, we have our first read of the betting view of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris for the summer.

That is the word from BetOnline, anyway, who sent out a new set of odds on Tuesday afternoon. Here's a look at the odds for both guys, with some analysis on both.

Jimmy Butler - 1st Regular Season Game of 2019-2020 

Philadelphia 76ers 1/2 
New York Knicks 6/1
Brooklyn Nets 8/1
Los Angeles Clippers 8/1
Los Angeles Lakers 8/1
Houston Rockets 9/1
Chicago Bulls 10/1
Miami Heat 12/1

The Sixers are a favorite by a decent-ish margin here, and perhaps that's a reflection of the power they hold financially here. They're the only team that can offer Butler a fifth year of max money, barring a sign-and-trade, and there have been numerous reports in the past about the importance of long-term security to Butler.

The Knicks being the second choice is a bit interesting to me, because the same oddsmakers seem to believe Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will end up in New York next summer. That would basically rule out the Knicks regardless of what the Sixers decide to do, and open the door for some of the other teams (mainly the L.A. squads) to go after Butler.

Butler's free agency thoughts in his own words:

You always want to be able to win. I think that’s key, for sure. You’re looking coaches, you’re looking at the city. There’s a lot that goes into it. But for me, as long as I’ve got my people with me, everybody knows I’m cool. If they’re happy, they’re smiling, waking up in the morning and having fun, we get it, we understand. It’s a long ways away from that, so I’m not too focused on that.

Tobias Harris - 1st Regular Season Game of 2019-2020 

Philadelphia 76ers 2/3
Brooklyn Nets 3/1
Dallas Mavericks 6/1
Los Angeles Lakers 6/1
Sacramento Kings 8/1
Utah Jazz 10/1
Indiana Pacers 12/1
Memphis Grizzlies 14/1
Atlanta Hawks 16/1

The Nets lurking as a suitor for Harris is no big secret at this point, with his NY roots and their need for a talent upgrade combining to make it a natural fit. Whether it makes a lot of sense from a stylistic standpoint is another story — Harris showed he can hit another defensive level in the playoffs, but that was also while surrounded by much better defensive personnel than they have in Brooklyn.

I continue to wonder if this is the sort of situation Harris wants to find himself in for the foreseeable future, because being the third or fourth option on a team with sky-high expectations can be a thankless task. Harris was greeted with a hero's welcome in Philadelphia after a hot start, but would that hold if he continued to struggle while on a bigger money deal? I'm not so sure.

Harris' free agency thoughts in his own words:

For me, honestly, style of play is a huge thing. Culture. A chance to be able to win. Just being in the playoffs here and getting that feeling and seeing how bad that lost felt, obviously is somewhere for me get back to like I said before pushing hard to go further than that. But those are just two things off the top.

One interesting note to add here as it pertains to Philadelphia — the Sixers were not even given odds on any of the major free agents on the board aside from their own guys. None on Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, or anybody else, which is a mild surprise when you see some of the other teams who are on the board for those guys.

Granted, some of the other teams have less maneuvering under the cap to do in order to chase those names and continue upgrading their team otherwise, and I don't know how strongly the Sixers are willing chase bigger names in free agency, because it would put them at risk of losing their own guys if they don't feel valued enough.

As always, a friendly reminder that odds are put out there in order to bring the most money in, so all of this could mean a big fat nothing as far as the Sixers are concerned. Just prepare for a lot of moving and manipulating from oddsmakers this summer.

RELATED: Sixers should not take Tobias Harris' free agency plans for granted

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