Should the Sixers trade for Jimmy Butler?

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Jimmy Butler is not content with the Minnesota Timberwolves, particularly his younger teammates Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. According to several reports, Butler is fed up with the nonchalant attitude of the younger Wolves. Butler’s dissatisfaction with the Timberwolves defense is publicly well known.

“We just gotta get tougher. We gotta play like some dogs with a sense of urgency. Teams just do whatever they want against us. I don’t like it,” said Butler about the team’s defense.

Not only has Butler publicly criticized the team’s defensive effort, but he also recently turned down a 4 year, $100 million dollar extension from them. All signs point to Butler wanting out of Minnesota. The Timberwolves could decide to potentially move him this offseason if they’re concerned that he won’t sign another contract next summer, which is looking like a strong possibility at this point. If they decided to trade Butler, the Sixes would be wise to pounce on the opportunity.

Jimmy Butler is one of the best two-way players in the league. He’s produced 16.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game for his career and has averaged at least 20 points and 5 rebounds the past 4 seasons. He won the NBA Most Improved Player Award in 2015, is a 4 time All Star, has been named to the All NBA Third Team twice and the NBA All Defensive Second Team 4 times. Not to mention he also became an Olympic Gold Medalist after the USA Basketball Men’s National Team beat Serbia in the 2016 Summer Olympics. The man has had an impressive career.

Jimmy Butler could be the star that the Sixes are so desperate to add to their core. They were a top 5 defensive team last season. Adding Butler to the mix would only make them better. A lineup that features Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid would give opposing teams nightmares.

Butler is not only an elite defensive player but he’s also improved his offense year after year of being in the league. He’s a strong finisher around the rim, can create his own shot and has connected on at least 35% of his 3 point attempts the past 2 seasons.

Butler wouldn’t have to worry about his teammates not putting in the effort if the Sixers were to trade for him. Joel Embiid is the best center in the league and was on the NBA All Defensive Second Team this season. He was also a candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Ben Simmons won Rookie of the Year after having a historic rookie season and will only improve going forward. T.J. McConnell and Dario Saric always give it their all and the team consistently plays collectively on both sides of the ball. Butler would slide in effortlessly with the team’s already established players.

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The Sixers have the assets to make the trade. Robert Covington, who was named to the NBA All Defensive First Team this year, could be an attractive piece to the Timberwolves. He fits the mold of a Tom Thibodeau player and could easily take Butler’s place in the starting lineup. Wilson Chandler, who the 76ers recently acquired, could also be sent in a potential package. The team has other assets as well, like the 2021 Miami Heat first round unprotected draft pick.

Of course giving up valuable assets for Jimmy Butler is a risky move since his contract is up at the end of the upcoming season, but it’s one that could potentially pay off big time for the Sixers.  Jimmy is a defensive oriented type of guy. The Sixers are a defensive oriented team. Brett Brown is a fantastic defensive minded coach. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are much better than Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony Towns as this point. Philly is a much larger market than Minnesota as well.

The Sixers are already a top 3 team in the Eastern Conference. Adding Butler to the mix could take them over the Boston Celtics, who are currently the favorites to take make it out of the east. After a season of playing in Philadelphia with Simmons, Embiid and the rest of the guys, getting Butler to resign may not be too difficult. He may not want to leave after getting a taste of what’s it’s like playing in such a great system that would fit him so well. Convincing him to stay after playing with the team for a full season will be much easier than trying to convince him to join a young team next summer when other teams will have a lot of money to throw out as well.

If Jimmy Butler becomes available, the 76ers should absolutely inquire about trading for him. It’s a gamble for the Sixers. Giving up assets for anyone is always risky, especially when that player’s contract is up after one season. The Sixers must have full confidence in themselves and their ability to resign him. If they’re able to land Butler and keep him after next summer, their goal of landing a star will have been accomplished.

 

Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

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