Why the 76ers should stay away from a Jimmy Butler trade

The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to be among the teams linked to every available superstar this offseason.
Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers - Play-In Tournament
Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers - Play-In Tournament / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

With the end of the playoff campaign, the 76ers are heading into a scorching summer full of potential free-agent targets and rumors about trade candidates. The 76ers will be involved in every rumour possible, and the latest name that came up in the discussion is former Sixer Jimmy Butler

Butler spent part of the 2018–19 season in Philadelphia after starting the year in Minnesota. He forced his way out of the Twin Cities and ended up in Philadelphia alongside the then-up-and-coming core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Many things have changed since then. 

Butler moved to Miami and led the team to two Finals appearances in 2020 and 2023, while the Sixers have refurbished their roster around Embiid. The 76ers proved to be a legit contender with Embiid healthy, but have yet to make a deep run in the playoffs.

They came close to that with Butler on the floor during the 2019 NBA playoffs, where a couple of bounces around the rim not going their way stripped the 76ers of a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. Both the Heat and 76ers came up short in the postseason this year, and they are looking to retool around their stars for another run next season.

Jimmy Butler is going to be 35 at the start of next season. His best years are behind him, even though he remains a great two-way player. Still, his age is not an issue on its own. Butler has two more years in his current deal, including a player option for the 2025–26 season.

Jimmy Butler to complicate Sixers' roster and financial status instead of elevating them

Philadelphia will need to give away assets to acquire Butler from Miami. I can't see reason behind the idea of giving up trade assets for a player who could be a free agent next summer. In addition, the franchise should make the wise decision to not commit a big chunk of its salary cap space to an ageing star that will demand a long-term commitment.

This could be a trap on its own in case things do not work out. In the meantime, the Sixers will need to offer a good amount of trade chips that were acquired in the James Harden trade to an Eastern Conference rival. The Heat are not known for their lenient style in negotiations; they will ask for every asset they can to allow Butler to leave South Beach.

Butler could bring that winning mentality to a Philadelphia squad that lacked it during crucial moments in their last playoff appearances. However, there are players available in free agency who can bring the same energy if they want to find a win-driven wing that fits alongside Embiid and Maxey.

Moreover, Butler is not known for his three-point shooting or his ability to open the floor despite shooting a career-high 40.9% from deep this past season. I believe that talent is the greatest “fit” on the basketball court, but Butler is used to playing alongside floor-stretchers in Miami. 

In that case, the front office should find the right balance between shooting and size on the wing, and Butler might not be able to fit that description in the long run. The Heat put Butler in the right ecosystem to maximize his ability to take over games, especially late in the season.

Butler's ability to be consistent with his performance and help a team win games in both the regular season and the playoffs is in question. He has not played more than 65 games in a regular season since the 2018-19 campaign; his fiery competitive spirit was always there come playoff time, but his regular season production is usually kind of underwhelming for a max player. 

That said, I don't expect this kind of thing to go away, especially with Butler moving into the latter part of his basketball career. It's almost certain that the Sixers are going to protect Joel Embiid for stretches of the regular season; sustaining two stars on your roster and not being playing at 100% for a portion of the season is not a viable approach for a winning club.

76ers trade for young All-Star forward in this mock offseason swap. dark. Next. ingram trade