The Philadelphia 76ers entered the 2018-19 NBA season as one of the top favorites expected to fully dominate the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference. However, based on their performance earlier this season, the Sixers’ roster, as currently constructed, may have a hard time beating other Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors in a best-of-seven series. Despite the impressive performances of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, the Sixers are believed to be in need of more star power in order to achieve their main goal this season.
So far, the Sixers remain active on the trade market, and according to Shams Charania of the Athletic, Philadelphia could “re-emerge” in trade discussions involving Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The potential acquisition of Butler could give the Sixers a very reliable scoring option as well as an incredible defender who can go up against the opposing team’s best player. This season, the 29-year-old shooting guard is averaging 22.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.4 steals, and 1.1 blocks on 49 percent shooting from the field and 39.5 percent from beyond the arc.
In the proposed trade from Fansided’s Dunking With Wolves, the Sixers could offer a trade package including Dario Saric, Wilson Chandler, Jerryd Bayless, and a 2019 second-round pick to the Timberwolves in exchange for Jimmy Butler. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
“This trade is a straight up rental-contract deal. Dario Saric has two years remaining on his rookie deal, but Jerryd Bayless, Wilson Chandler, and obviously Jimmy Butler, all have one year left on their contracts. So this could potentially be a good move for the future of both teams, giving them room to re-sign or release all players involved. As we’ve already noted the difficult Butler contract situation on our opening slide, Saric is a tough sell as well. Saric was one of the best up and coming stretch-four’s in the league last year, but yet this season, he’s drastically dropped off.”
After 12 games, the takeaways aren't pretty. On the Jimmy Butler saga, Josh Okogie's strong play, the rise of 3s and decline in 2s, the woeful rebounding, and more as @brittrobson and @JonKrawczynski talk a little @Timberwolves.https://t.co/I4Gdo0fIj2
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticMIN) November 9, 2018
Giving up Dario Saric for Jimmy Butler can be considered a no-brainer for the Sixers. Pairing Butler with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid could give the Sixers a real “Big Three” that could carry them to the top of the Eastern Conference this season. However, before engaging in a trade deal with the Timberwolves, the Sixers should first get an assurance from Butler that he intends to stay in Philadelphia beyond the 2018-19 NBA season.
Meanwhile, Dario Saric will be a great addition to the Timberwolves, as he entered the league around the same time as Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. However, it remains questionable if the Sixers’ suggested trade package is enough to convince the Timberwolves to make a deal. If they are serious about acquiring Jimmy Butler, the Sixers might consider adding the likes of Markelle Fultz or Robert Covington, together with future first-round picks, to make their offer more attractive to the Timberwolves.