First off, what? The Chicago Bulls have struggled a lot over the last few weeks after a really hot start in their first season with hometown hero Dwyane Wade under contract, but to part ways with Butler seems a bit premature considering the Bulls are in a new era this season. He’s a great player, an All-Star caliber player, and despite that the Bulls do have a lot of guards, it doesn’t seem like the Bulls should part ways with him unless they have a really big return piece in mind.
“If this is true, the Sixers have to go hard at Jimmy Butler,” Pompey said in his Friday podcast.
I mean, it seems foolish not to, right? Here, the Sixers have a lot of young pieces set up, but it seems as if one of the missing items is a really solid veteran player. They have guys like Gerald Henderson and Jerryd Bayless, but neither of them are going to put up 25+ points on any given night, and I have a tough time imagining either one of them exploding for 50+ points like Butler has the potential to do.
So far this season, Butler, a former Most Improved Player of the Year, is having a pinnacle year, averaging 25.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists on 45.6 percent shooting from the field and 33.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He’s proven that even with a backcourt as loaded as Chicago’s, he can be a leader, and given the fact that he would have even more of an opportunity to lead in Philadelphia, he should be able to put up even higher numbers — or at the least, comparable numbers — to his numbers so far this season in Chicago.
Now, as far as fit, Butler doesn’t fit in too bad. If head coach Brett Brown is serious about running rookie top overall pick Ben Simmons as the point guard and primary ball handler, Butler should have no problem working a bunch off of the ball. Butler can score at a high rate and would benefit greatly from Simmons doing a lot of the point work and ball movement work.
Butler also isn’t too shabby of a defender (he’s certainly not elite, either, though), and could help the Sixers’ perimeter defense, something that’s been lacking over the last few years.
Adding a player like Butler takes a huge step forward for the Sixers. Although they’ve improved already a lot compared to last year, adding an All-Star such as Butler just takes things to a level that’s even hard to even imagine with the Sixers right now.
“I believe they need veteran ball players. I believe if you pair Jimmy Butler with Embiid and also with Ben Simmons, that’s a solid core,” Pompey said. He added that it doesn’t stop there, and that role players still need to be brought in around them. A decent foundation, indeed, but one that might not be all that realistic unless the Sixers give up a ton in return.
So, what do the Sixers give up?
“I think they would have to give up Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor, but in addition to that, I think they would have to give up one of next year’s draft picks,” Pompey said.
I would argue that the Sixers are going to have to give up a lot more than a big man that they don’t want at all and a future draft pick, but that’s a start. There are several other players the Sixers could add on, and to be honest, anyone outside of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons is expendable on this team for a player such as Butler. You don’t want to sell the whole farm, but adding on any one or two players for Butler in addition to Okafor or Noel wouldn’t be the end of the world.