With the trade deadline looming, there are plenty of rumors swirling around in Philadelphia. They still have three starting caliber centers on the roster and could use a guard who can create for himself. Philadelphia also has veteran players on friendly contracts that could be attractive options for championship contenders. No one is expecting a blockbuster trade but it’s time for Jerry Colangelo to start making calls to gauge interest.
The last blockbuster trade Philadelphia was a part of turned out terrible for every team involved. In 2012, the Sixers acquired Andrew Bynum from the Lakers and Jason Richardson from the Magic. Philly’s best player, Andre Iguodala was sent to Denver. They also gave up Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, and a first-round pick to Orlando. Bynum was expected to be the final piece of the puzzle to contend for a title after coming one win shy of advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals. But instead,he never suited up in two years of collecting a paycheck in Philadelphia. This trade blew up in Philly’s face. The only consolation prizes from this abomination of a trade are that it was the unofficial beginning of the process and that it didn’t work out for any team. While the scars remain, it’s for Philadelphia to consider trading for a superstar; Jimmy Butler in particular.
Jimmy Butler’s career has taken off over the past two years and he’s developed into a superstar. In all six of his seasons, his scoring per game has increased and he’s now averaging 24.6 points a game this season. He’s also capturing more rebounds a game than at any point in his career. Butler was just selected to his third consecutive all-star game.
The Chicago Bulls are in the midst of a turbulent season. Their offseason was highlighted by the signings of Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo. The signings were questioned at the time, and the hesitancy has proven to be warranted. Rondo has been benched multiple times this season and Wade’s return to his hometown has been rocky. It’s time for the Chicago front office to consider trading their superstar and starting their rebuild the right way.
The blockbuster trade should look something like this: Philadelphia gets Jimmy Butler and Doug McDermott in exchange for Jahlil Okafor, their first round pick this year, and the Lakers first round pick that’s top three protected (or unprotected next year).
For Philadelphia, they’re getting a superstar that will propel this team into the playoffs and potentially past the first round this year alone. The starting lineup would look like PG: T.J. McConnell, SG: Jimmy Butler, SF: Robert Covington, PF: Ersan Ilyasova/Dario Saric and C: Joel Embiid. While there are plenty of young studs coming out of college this year, sacrificing to potential stars for a proven one should be a no brainer.
The Sixers would be sacrificing a lot of potential capital, but nothing solid. The two first round draft picks will realistically be in the top ten this season. And it looks like it could be the deepest draft in years. But the Sixers’ pick would be later in the lottery following the Butler acquisition. He would propel Philadelphia forward also probably resulting in the use of the Sacramento pick swap, which means Chicago would get the better of the Sixers or Kings pick. Not only that, but trading Okafor would give him a real opportunity to succeed in a different system. Rumors already have surfaced about Chicago’s interest in the young big man.
The real question mark in the package the Bulls would receive is the Lakers pick. If the season were to end today, LA would finish with one of the three worst records in the league, thus giving them a good shot at retaining their pick. Should that happen, Chicago would automatically get it next season. The Lakers are getting healthy and with the return of injured players, the team could see a spike in their win total. So if they are able to finish the season strong, Chicago could get the pick tonight. Getting the pick this year or next year each hold positives and negatives, it’ll only be a matter of time to see which will work out better.
This trade would provide both teams with the assets needed to help get each team to where they ultimately want to be in the coming years – contention. Philadelphia already went through the roughest parts of their rebuild, whereas Chicago is floundering at mediocrity. But the best way to expedite the process of rebuilding a franchise is to accumulate draft picks and there is tremendous value in two potentially top ten picks in what is expected to be a historically good draft.
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