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Playoffs 2019

Offseason outlook: What's next for the Philadelphia 76ers?

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The 76ers have a huge offseason ahead of them (NBA Getty Images)

Now that the Philadelphia 76ers have been eliminated from the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the focus shifts to the offseason.

For the first time since 2012, the 76ers won't have a pick in the lottery of the NBA Draft. Additionally, 10 of the 15 players who finished the season on Philadelphia's roster could be free agents this summer, including Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris.

The combination makes for a fascinating season for one of the Eastern Conference's powerhouses.

Free Agents

Jimmy Butler, SF, UFA - $19.8 million player option for 2019-20 season

James Ennis, SF, UFA - $1.8 million player option for 2019-20 season

Tobias Harris, SF/PF, UFA

J.J. Redick, SG, UFA

Boban Marjanovic, C, UFA

Mike Scott, PF, UFA

Amir Johnson, C, UFA

Furkan Korkmaz, SG, UFA

T.J. McConnell, PG, UFA

Greg Monroe, C, UFA

UFA = Unrestricted Free Agent, RFA = Restricted Free Agent

Under Contract

Ben Simmons, G/F - under team control through 2019-20

Jonathon Simmons, G/F - under team control through 2019-20

Jonah Bolden, F/C - under team control through 2021-22

Zhaire Smith, G - under team control through 2021-22

Joel Embiid, C - under team control through 2022-23

Draft Picks

The 76ers own a first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but it's a little complicated.

As detailed by RealGM, the Boston Celtics will receive either Philadelphia's first-round pick or Sacramento's depending on which one is more favourable. The 76ers will then receive the less favourable one of the two, likely in the 20s.

The 76ers also own three second round picks.

Take a look back at Philadelphia's last five first-round picks:

2018: Mikal Bridges (10)

2018: Landry Shamet (26)

2017: Markelle Fultz (1)

2016: Ben Simmons (1)

2016: Timothe Luwawu (24)

Salary

Philadelphia's cap situation is also a little complicated.

They enter free agency without any room to work with because of the cap holds of Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, J.J. Redick and Boban Marjanovic. While there is a path towards them creating almost $60 million in cap space, it would require them to renounce the cap holds of all of those players.

Doing so would give them an opportunity to pursue the likes of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in free agency, but it would put them at risk of losing Butler and Harris and not being able to sign other top tier free agents with their cap space.

Considering how much they gave up to get Butler and Harris, that would be a tremendous loss.

Biggest offseason storylines

The future of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris

The 76ers went all-in this season by trading for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris knowing full that they could both be on different teams next season.

Butler has a $19.8 million player option for next season but is expected to decline it to sign a longer and more lucrative contract. Harris, meanwhile, will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and is expected to sign a "maximum-level" contract.

The 76ers could ultimately re-sign both of them, but it would come at a significant cost. If they were to offer Butler and Harris max contracts, sign Ben Simmons to a max extension and keep Joel Embiid, who signed a $148 million extension with the 76ers in 2017, it could cost them as much as $130 million by the 2020-21 season.

That doesn't even factor in J.J. Redick, who has proven to be a huge part of the team's success. He signed a one-year, $12.3 million contract last offseason and could sign something similar this offseason.

It gives the 76ers a lot to think about after losing to the Raptors in seven games.

The future of the franchise

The 76ers have plenty to figure out beyond Butler and Harris. Only five players are currently under contract for next season, two of which - Simmons and Embiid - were actually a part of their rotation in the playoffs.

It's sort of a fork-in-the-road moment for the franchise. Do they commit to the vision they had a couple of months ago even though they fell short of their ultimate goal or do they go back to the drawing board and build something new around Simmons and Embiid? Could they get really dramatic and opt for a future that includes Simmons or Embiid, but not both?

Making most of the decisions will be Elton Brand. For a first-time general manager, he has a lot on his plate.

It doesn't help that the rest of the Eastern Conference will be in flux - the Celtics have to deal with Kyrie Irving's free agency, the Raptors have to deal with Kawhi Leonard's and the Bucks have to deal with Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez's. There's lots of moving parts atop the Eastern Conference and how Brand steers this franchise forward will be one of the league's most interesting subplots this summer.

The development of Ben Simmons

Simmons is coming off of an impressive sophomore season, in which he was named an All-Star for the first time in his career, but he once again struggled in the playoffs.

After averaging 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game in the regular season, Simmons saw his numbers drop across the board in the postseason. He had a couple of big games against the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, but didn't make as much of an impact offensively against the Raptors in the Conference Semifinals.

For Simmons to take the next step in his development, he'll likely need to become a more willing shooter. Unless he's surrounded by four 3-point shooters at all times - something he doesn't currently have in Philadelphia - it's too easy for the best defenses in the league to take away his strengths.

It happened last postseason against the Celtics and this postseason against the Raptors.

Simmons doesn't even have to extend his range all the way out to the 3-point line. Even shooting more jumpers from midrange, where he attempted 67 shots during the regular season, would make it more difficult for teams to pack the paint.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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