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Report: 76ers still hope to re-sign Jimmy Butler

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Brett Brown downplayed the idea Jimmy Butler disrespected him during a recent film session.

But the 76ers coach didn’t address the bigger (though non-headlining) revelation in ESPN’s recent report on Butler – that there’s concern about his long-term fit in Philadelphia. With the NBA cracking down on tampering, teams should be wary of publicly discussing future contracts, even with their own players.

Still, the 76ers are putting out word about Butler’s upcoming free agency.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

The Sixers went into the Butler experience with eyes wide open, and still hope to re-sign him this summer, sources say.

File this under: What else are they supposed to say? If they no longer plan to re-sign him, they should trade him before next month’s deadline. And if it became known don’t plan to re-sign him, that would cripple their trade leverage.

Besides, planning to keep Butler is the right approach, anyway. Sure, he’s not the most natural fit with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. But keeping Butler maximizes the 76ers’ talent level, and that’s what they need in the long run.

Butler is an excellent, versatile player. Simmons and Embiid are each in just their second mostly healthy seasons. They’ve played only 21 games together. It’s far too soon to write off this trio. Players can adjust, and importantly, Philadelphia can rebuild complementary depth in after slashing it in the deal to acquire Butler from the Timberwolves (surrendering Robert Covington and Dario Saric, two starters for one).

Of course, Butler must want to stay. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent. But the 76ers can offer the largest contract – a projected $190 million over five years (about $38 million annually). Butler’s max with another team projects to be $141 million over four years (about $35 million annually).

So, Butler and Philadelphia will likely stay the course together, even with murmurs to the contrary.

Dwyane Wade sinks halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Dwyane Wade is secure in his legacy. He’s an all-time great, and an extra missed 3-pointer during his farewell tour won’t change anything. (It doesn’t hurt that his resumé already includes subpar 3-point shooting.)

So, when many players would hold the ball, Wade heaved in a halfcourt shot to end the third quarter of the Heat’s 110-105 win over the Spurs on Wednesday. It wasn’t the biggest shot of Wade’s season, but it still mattered plenty.

Miami’s lead when San Antonio began intentionally fouling late? Three.

Jonas Valanciunas hits game-winning free throw, spoils James Harden’s 57-point night (video)

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The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and a five-point lead in the final 30 seconds of overtime. James Harden scored 57 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and all 10 of the Rockets points in overtime.

But Jonas Valanciunas saved Memphis from total collapse. He drew a foul on his putback and hit the game-winning free-throw with 0.1 seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 126-125 win Wednesday.

Report: Suns exploring signing Jimmer Fredette

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Jimmer Fredette remains a fascination because he scored a ton at BYU eight years ago and… other reasons.

He has been lighting it up in China, and his season there just ended. Now, the former No. 10 pick could return to the NBA after three years away.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.

Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.

But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.

The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.

It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.

Marcus Smart shoves down Joel Embiid from behind, gets ejected (video)

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Marcus Smart recently bemoaned the lack of physicality in the NBA.

After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.

Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.

Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.