The Philadelphia 76ers entered the 2018-19 NBA season as one of the top three favorite NBA teams to fully dominate the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference. However, based on their performance earlier this season, the Sixers obviously need more star power in order to achieve their main goal. One of the NBA superstars the Sixers could target is Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Though Jimmy Butler is still playing for the Timberwolves, team owner Glen Taylor promised to find him a new home as soon as possible. As of now, the Miami Heat and the Houston Rockets emerged as Butler’s top suitors on the trade market. However, there is a huge possibility that the Sixers could also engage in trade talks with the Timberwolves to acquire the disgruntled superstar.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Sixers could see Jimmy Butler as the missing piece to legitimize their chance of contending for the 2019 NBA championship title. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski shared the same sentiment and added that the Sixers “are going to be heard from” when trade negotiation involving Butler starts again.
“I think they are going to be heard from,” Wojnarowski said.
“Whenever the Butler thing gets going again, I’m confident Philly’s going to be heard from again. Its a matter of, what are you willing to give up for him.”
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) October 29, 2018
However, the successful acquisition of Jimmy Butler depends on what the Sixers are willing to trade to the Timberwolves. Though Butler is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, the Timberwolves are still expecting a good return. When they made Butler officially available on the trading block, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau reportedly wants to receive players who can help them remain a competitive team in the Western Conference in which according to Windhorst, the Sixers currently have.
“They have the type of assets that could potentially get Thibs (Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau) interested,” Windhorst said.
“They have young guys, plus guys that can help you right now.”
According to Mark Gill of 97.3 FM ESPN South Jersey, a trade package including Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and a future first-round pick could be enough to get the Timberwolves attention. Saric and Covington will be great additions to the Timberwolves since they fit the timeline of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. Covington could replace Jimmy Butler in the wing, while Saric could form a formidable frontcourt duo with Towns.
Meanwhile, the arrival of Butler will give the Sixers a higher chance of becoming the new ruler of the Eastern Conference this season. Aside from being their No. 1 option on the offensive end of the floor, the Sixers could also task Butler to guard the opposing team’s best player.
As of now, there is no official confirmation if there is an ongoing trade negotiation between the Sixers and the Timberwolves involving Jimmy Butler. Expect more rumors to circulate before the February NBA trade deadline.