The Philadelphia 76ers might get back into the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes, according to one report.
We’re almost two weeks into the NBA season and Jimmy Butler is still playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The natural assumption, despite Tom Thibodeau’s efforts to keep him on board, is that the disgruntled star will be traded at some point.
The Rockets have offered the Wolves four first-round picks, but according to Stadium’s Shams Charania, that deal isn’t gaining traction. The players included in the proposed deal — Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss — don’t match Thibodeau’s high expectations.
According to Shams, however, the Wolves are surveying the market for potential suitors. He mentions two teams as potential destinations: the Miami Heat, who the Wolves have negotiated with in the past, and the Philadelphia 76ers.
While Shams doesn’t mention the Sixers as a team currently pursuing Butler, he does note that other teams have identified the Sixers as a team that could get involved. There are some obvious pros and cons to adding Butler, which have been discussed ad nauseam in the past.
Sitting at 2-3, the Sixers haven’t gotten out to a great start this season. There have been more overreactions than nuanced takes, but sitting below .500 through five games isn’t ideal.
Butler is a top-15 NBA player who fills a definite need for the Sixers — adding another shot creator on the wing who also defends at a high level. He’s a great fit on the court who could push the Sixers to Boston and Toronto territory in the East.
The biggest downside is the locker room dynamic. Butler has clashed with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota, raising concerns over how he would mesh with two young stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
There are also the logistics of a potential trade. If the Wolves want proven talent, elite prospects and high-end draft picks, the Sixers would almost need to clean house. Robert Covington, Markelle Fultz and Dario Saric might all be on the move, which is a hefty price tag.
A commitment to re-sign would obviously change things, but even then, the Sixers should think long and hard about giving up prime assets for an aging star with a history of playing big minutes.
Butler is an elite talent who makes the Sixers more competitive in the short-term. He’s also another All-Defense candidate, building on the Sixers’ elite two-way core. There is a definite path to success with Butler on board.
Whether or not the risk is worth the potential reward, however, is up to Elton Brand.