The NBA Draft is a mere week away and there are still plenty of questions surrounding the Sixers. What positions do they value the most? Do they plan on staying at #3? What does their big board look like? The questions are mounting and the hypothetical scenarios are increasing exponentially, but there’s one hypothetical scenario I’d like to dissect in this article. What would a trade for Jimmy Butler look like for the Sixers?
Jimmy Butler, 27, is still under contract for another three years with the Chicago Bulls. The good news for the Sixers is that the prime years of Butler’s career aren’t aligned with when the Bulls will be title contenders again. Chicago is fresh off a 41-41 season in which they finished as the number eight seed in the East. The team does not have enough young talent to project improvement next season and their second best player is a 35-year old Dwyane Wade- who can opt out of his contract this summer. To make a long story short, the Bulls aren’t a very good team and aren’t going to be one for the foreseeable future, so it would behoove them to trade Butler and rebuild.
The Sixers, on the other hand, are in desperate need of a proven commodity capable of staying healthy over the course of the season. Although the team has an exciting young core in place, their two franchise cornerstones (Embiid and Simmons) have yet to prove they can put a complete season together in the pros. The Sixers have also struggled mightily to win games since their 2012 playoff berth, compiling a record of 109-301 and missing the playoffs every season since. I’m all for Trusting the Process but losing takes its toll on a team and consequently establishes a losing culture and mentality in the process, so the team needs to become more competitive to erase that culture.
Jimmy Butler would immediately provide the production and durability needed to add more W’s to the win column. Butler is inarguably one of the best two way players in the league, and could help the Sixers reach the postseason as soon as next season if acquired.
Acquiring the young all-star won’t be cheap, however. The Bulls have been extremely hesitant to trade him and start to rebuild, so it will take quite the offer to get them to do so. Fortunately, the Sixers have more than enough assets in their arsenal to make a persuasive offer. The Bulls have no long term answer at center, so based on Chicago’s team needs and the assets at Philly’s disposal I’d say the best offer for Jimmy Butler would be Jason Kelce and a 2018 first rounder. Oh..wrong sport? I must be ready for some Eagles football. Sorry let me get back to basketball.
All joking aside I believe that a package of Jahlil Okafor, the third overall pick, and the Sixers 2019 first-rounder should be enough to bring Butler to the City of Brotherly Love. Although most Sixers fans have soured on him, Okafor is a very solid player who still has room for improvement. The Bulls have also expressed interest in acquiring the Chicago native as recently as this past season before the trade deadline. The Bulls front office would also be hard pressed to pass on the chance to acquire a top three selection in a draft class being compared to the historic 2003 draft.
The 2019 first rounder may seem too valuable to give at the moment, but how much will it be worth after Embiid, Saric, Simmons, and Butler get a couple seasons together under their belt? Furthermore, the Sixers will still have an unprotected Sacramento Kings draft pick in their back pocket, so losing theirs is a very small price to pay for a player of Butler’s caliber.
I’m not saying the Sixers necessarily should and/or will trade for Jimmy Butler, but they have the resources to add a franchise player to their roster without mortgaging their future, and should at least entertain the idea.
Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports