Sixers mailbag: Suitors for Tobias Harris? Ben Simmons for LeBron James?

Paul Hudrick
NBC Sports Philadelphia

Sixers mailbag: Suitors for Tobias Harris? Ben Simmons for LeBron James? originally appeared on nbcsportsphiladelphia.com

We asked for your questions regarding how the season ended, free agency and the draft.

And you didn't disappoint, Sixers fans.

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So many questions came in that we had to split it up into two mailbags.

Here's part one, touching on Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons and Kawhi Leonard's buzzer-beater.

According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Harris will have plenty of suitors this offseason. Sixers fans really soured on Harris in a hurry. The emotions from the Toronto series are still raw and that 7-of-23 performance in a pivotal Game 4 is still fresh in everyone's mind, but cut Harris a little slack.

This was just his second time in the postseason - the other time being when the Pistons were swept in 2015-16 - and he was actually excellent in the final three games of the Brooklyn series. Who outside of Jimmy Butler was consistently good in the second round? Harris had an All-Star caliber season, is just 26 and has improved every season of his career. I'm not saying the Sixers absolutely need to max him, but if they don't, somebody will.

Speaking of "fixated," there have been multiple people in my mentions about Walker. I guess because he dropped 60 on the Sixers this season everyone thinks he's a world-beater. I like Walker a lot. He can go off any given night and would offer a strong complement to Ben Simmons.

But the reality is Walker is 6-foot-3, is not a good defender and is already 29 years old. At the same age, Butler is unequivocally the better option. He may not be a perfect fit on the floor, but he offers much more as a defender and is the kind of leader the Sixers have needed.

Any time you're talking about the greatest player maybe ever, you have to consider it. The biggest concern for me would be that James doesn't want to be here. He had his chance and chose L.A. for a reason. His family is happy there and he has aspirations for life after basketball. Also, it would seem like part of the Sixers' appeal to James would be playing with Simmons.

James will turn 35 this season and is signed for two more years and then has a player option. Simmons will turn 23 this summer and is eligible to sign his rookie max extension which would keep him here for the next six seasons. I get being all-in for a championship, but you have to balance that with the future at least a little bit.

Sixers fans won't like my answer, but I think the team's fate is the same even if gets to OT. Joel Embiid had already played 45 minutes at that point and you would need him for every second of that overtime given how poorly they performed with him on the bench. 

Could Butler have worked his magic and gone off in OT? Maybe, but the Raptors seemed to have all the momentum down the stretch.

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