What Should The 76ers Do With Jimmy Butler?

Posted on June 28, 2019

For a long period of time, it seemed like the Philadelphia 76ers re-signing Jimmy Butler was a foregone conclusion. After all, last year’s trade worked out swimmingly. Butler was everything the 76ers had hoped for – both in the regular season and playoffs.

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But since Butler has opted out, the rumors have started to swirl. The Houston Rockets are tripping over themselves to acquire Butler and now there are reports that Butler will take a pay cut to play with the Los Angeles Lakers.

  • Should the 76ers offer Butler the max and do their best to keep him?
  • Or is there a better solution?

We took a look at all of the scenarios on the table and the pros and cons of each:

If The 76ers Keep Butler

jimmy butler sixers lakers rockets

Upside: Keeping Butler should be a priority for the 76ers because they spent a lot to get him. They traded a number of assets to the Minnesota Timberwolves last season and it will hurt if they lose him for nothing (or not much).

Butler is definitely a max player and the fact that the Houston Rockets are after him tells you what you need to know.

The fact of the matter is if the 76ers keep their roster intact for next season, they should be one of the favorites in the East. The internal growth from guys like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, combined with a full offseason from Tobias Harris and Butler, will probably make this team as good as any in the East.

Now if the Toronto Raptors lose Kawhi Leonard or the Milwaukee Bucks lose pieces of their supporting cast (Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon or Brook Lopez), the 76ers become the favorite in this scenario.

Downside: The only downside here is that Butler will command five years and $190 million (which he is definitely worth). That means that with Embiid, Simmons, Butler and Harris on the books, this team won’t have much flexibility financially. This either works (and delivers a championship) or it doesn’t. If there’s friction, problems or serious injuries, there’s not much this team will be able to do.

If The 76ers Sign-And-Trade Butler To Houston

Upside: There are those who feel like a sign-and-trade with Houston would not be that bad of a decision. I’m not one of them, but I’ll play along for the sake of the argument…

The reality here is that the 76ers could lose Butler for nothing. He’s opted out and can make his own decision. If they’re not confident that he’ll be back, they’d be wise to get something for him rather than see him walk out the door and get nothing back.

Downside: The downside here is that usually in the NBA, the team that gets the best player wins the trade. Why would you want to help Houston get one step closer to an NBA championship, while you take a step back?

Does Butler have a bit of an ego? Yes, but what great player doesn’t? He’s not a trouble maker. He’s a hard working player who expects the rest of his team to work as hard as he does. Does this sometimes rub coaches and players the wrong way? Of course.

But Jimmy Butler’s path to the NBA would put a chip on any player’s shoulder. He had to scrape and claw his way in order to get playing time at a collegiate level. He had to work harder than everybody else, and his mindset hasn’t changed.

Plus, Jimmy has grown up a lot in the past year, and at the end of the day, you’d rather have him next season than Gordon and/or Tucker because he’s the best of the three players. Swapping Butler out would be a downgrade for the immediate future.

In a 2017 Vice interview Jimmy Butler stated:

jimmy butler free agency philly“I think it’s wrong for me to think that people want what I want because in reality they don’t. Some people are OK with getting drafted. Some people are OK with playing two years in the league, four years in the league, six years in the league. Some people are OK with just scoring a basket in an NBA game. I’m not OK with any of that. I’m not satisfied until I win a championship,” he says.

“I want everybody to work the way that I work and it’s wrong for me to think like that because people don’t do it! But in my mind I’m just like why? Why don’t you want to chase greatness the way that I do?”

These are the kind of players you want on your team. Players like this win championships.

If The 76ers Let Butler Walk In Free Agency

Upside: Nothing to add here. Move along. Re-sign the man, Philly.

He plays the game with a passion only the city of Philadelphia can appreciate, and I would be surprised to see him walk away from that.

Downside: The downside of this scenario is you’re losing a superstar with as much passion for the game as anyone on the court. And what is Philly all about? Passion.The man has already admitted to loving the city of Philadelphia more than anywhere he’s played before.

Butler had no scholarship offers coming out of high school, so his journey to the NBA was much more challenging than many other NBA superstars. He plays the game with a chip on his shoulder, and he outworks everyone else on the court. Why wouldn’t a city like Philadelphia want a guy like this?

Jimmy Butler was born to play in Philly.

If the 76ers have a chance to sign him, and they choose to let him go… Here at NJ Betting, we think that would be a huge mistake.



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