On Saturday afternoon, Sixers twitter went into pandemonium when it was announced that Jimmy Butler was headed to Philadelphia. Here is the trade that will be approved on Monday.
To Philadelphia for:
2022 Second Round pick
To be a Sixers fan means you are emotionally invested. This is the essence of being a sports fan in Philadelphia. Whether we accept it or not, the NBA shows no mercy for people like us. The NBA is first and foremost a business. Sixers fans are widely known for their passion, knowledge of the game, and love for players like TJ McConnell whose heart, hustle, and grit are unmatched. Since 2013/14, we found victories for moral reasons rather than tallies in the win column. It was an absolute joy watching Robert Covington, an undrafted prospect who was a star in the D-League, climb the ranks and become one of the best defensive players in the NBA. We all fell in love with Dario Saric, the ultimate team player who grew into one of the best stretch 4s in the game. We are simply emotionally invested in these guys, and it absolutely sucks to see these two go. The Homie and RoCo are unmistakably the heart and soul of the Sixers on the court and in the locker room.
We all knew this day would come. We all knew the price to greatness would be steep and here we are. The sun is rising and a new era in Sixers basketball arises. Everything has changed. Here are our takes on the trade for Jimmy Butler.
Welp, I woke up this morning and this trade turned out to not be a dream after all. I’ve always been kind of anti-Butler just because I couldn’t see how he’d fit with the Sixers culture, but thinking about it, he just wants a team full of competitive players that hate to lose. If I’m being honest, like most Sixers fans, I’m also super territorial and emotionally attached to this team, so I’m unenthused about discussing trades. Naturally, I did not love the trade at first (I audibly gasped in the hair salon which drew some attention, to say the least), but the more I sit with it, the more it’s growing on me. It’s hard to look at this team from a strictly business standpoint because so many of us spend so much time defending them (Fire Brett Brown/Covington’s Trash/Fultz is a Bust people, I’m looking at you). But when you strip away the brotherhood and personality of the Sixers and strictly look at gameplay, this trade is a steal and it’ll be no time before we’re embracing Jimmy as our own.
The thing I keep getting stuck on, though, are the lineups. I keep going over possible lineups in my head and am having trouble finding one that I have total confidence in, but I wonder if they don’t make sense because this trade isn’t quite over yet. I’m interested to see if this trade ends up in a three-way deal by midweek. But then again, I’m not quite sure if my heart can handle any more.
The trade is very similar to the Kawhi deal – they gave up an all-time great Raptor for a shot. We’re doing similarly with our sweet baby boys. It hurts to see the guys go, but as far as basketball decisions go, Jimmy Butler without giving up a first is tremendous. I’m all in on the trade, even if my heart will shatter when Dario inbounds to RoCo for the win for Minny. But on the bright side – I’m buying at least seven Dario Saric Prince jerseys.
Most importantly, Jimmy is a weapon running the pick and roll. Embiid has never had the benefit of Capella-type roll opportunities because of the Sixers unorthodox backcourt, and a Jimmy-Joel PnR will be one of the most potent offensive weapons in the game.
There was only one way the process was going to end and this was it. We got two home grown stars, one of whom may be a perennial MVP, and the rest were assets designed to lead to one goal: star hunting. Well, now we have a star. As fans of a bad team, you get attached to role players fairly easily, but once a team contends, as we’ve seen time and time again, those guys become expendable. We saw this when Theo Ratliff was traded for Mutumbo, when JA Happ was traded for Oswalt and so on – this comes with the territory of being a contender. So as much as it pains us to see RoCo go, and as much as we wonder if Dario will finally come over and join Minnesota, we have to look at the key question: does this give the Sixers the ability to beat the Celtics? I don’t know the answer to that, and I think more moves are coming (we need a starting 4 and unless Shamet is the guy, a 3 and D guy off the bench), but watching the Hornets game, it was clear that the Sixers needed someone who could score in bunches – Butler gives you that.
As for chemistry issues, this is not a Thibs locker room. There’s a reason guys like JJ Redick not only signed here but became outspoken evangelists for the Sixers culture. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons aren’t Andrew Wiggins, they’re guys that would kill themselves to win and nobody has said a negative word about – I think it’s Butler’s ideal location. Many of Butler’s issues with the Wolves were that he played every minute of every game. On the Sixers, he’ll be able to have fewer minutes with the way Brett trusts his bench guys. The big winner here is Joel Embiid, who now doesn’t need to play every minute plus overtime. A scoring threat like Butler means that Joel doesn’t need to be The Man every second of every game – something that is really going to help keep him healthy. As much as it hurts to lose Cov and Dario, we now have at least two of the Top 10 players in the league.
Here’s the full list of NBA players that are definitely better than Jimmy Butler: LeBron, Curry, Durant. That’s it. That’s the full list. Reading about what people think about this trade, one thing is clear: nobody has actually, like, watched Jimmy Butler play basketball. He’s an elite two-way player who puts up incredible performances on both ends of the floor while also playing top 5 minutes in the league every year. He’s RoCo or Iguodala, but with much much better offense. And we got him for two role-players. That’s what Saric and RoCo were, ultimately. They were role-players. Any time you can trade two role-players for a superstar, you do it and you don’t think twice.
The only two concerns I’ve even seen are a lack of spacing and Butler’s attitude. Butler has literally shot better from 3 than RoCo from the start of the 2016 season to now. If RoCo was the space provider, Butler can do the same thing but better. Saric will likely be replaced in the lineup by a SG, so there will be no downgrade in shooting there while also allowing Ben to play a more natural PF on defense. As for Butler’s attitude, take note that Towns is literally his only teammate who has ever disliked him. You only need to take one look at Butler’s relationship with Tyus Jones to know that there’s not going to be any issue with Fultz here.
So yeah, we just traded a half dollar and a quarter for a dollar. The Sixers are now a competitive team in the East. This was the point of the Process. Rejoice.
There are two different parts to this trade: the logical side and the emotional side. On the logical side, it seems like a good trade for the Sixers. They picked up a top 10 player who wants to stay here long term for two players who were good, but not good enough for the Sixers to succeed. There are some risks to the deal including the fact that Jimmy Butler has had a history of rough relationships with young players. But if Butler pans out, it seems like a great trade for the Sixers on the surface. But on the emotional side, this is a completely different trade. This may sound weird, but seeing Covington leave was the most upset I’ve ever been after an athlete left Philadelphia. I’m younger, so they’re haven’t been as many of them, but it doesn’t matter. My first reaction to the trade was how much I would miss Covington and Saric on the Sixers. While I think this is a good trade for the Sixers, it will take me a few weeks to get over losing two of my favorite players.
In less than two months, Elton Brand has done what his big-collared predecessor couldn’t do in more than two years: find a third star to position alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. The Sixers now have three of the top 20 players in the league and have the talent cache to truly compete for a title. Robert Covington was my favorite Sixer and I will miss both him and Dario Saric dearly, but when emotions are removed, this trade was a no-brainer. The Sixers essentially turned two quarters (Cov, Dario) and an expired bus token (Bayless) into a crisp $1 bill (Butler). With the pressure to be “the third star” now removed, Markelle Fultz is free to develop at his own pace. The rest of the roster still boasts the shooting of J.J Redick, Landry Shamet, and Mike Muscala, as well as the heart and locker-room presence of T.J. McConnell and Amir Johnson. Everything should fall nicely around the newest “Big 3” in the league. The Process is over – The Results are just beginning.
Well, Jimmy Butler is a Sixer and I have thoughts. Let’s start with what the Sixers gave up. Robert Covington and Dario Saric are staples of the Process, and as someone who is a huge flag bearer of winning with “our guys,” I love them. What did we get in return? Jimmy Butler, bonafide superstar and a top 20 player in the NBA. In a recent game against Charlotte that the team won in overtime, the 76ers had a five-to-six minute stretch in the 4th quarter where their only scoring came from Joel Embiid at the free throw line. Jimmy Butler will cure this ailment at the end of games because, simply put, he’s a big guard who can get a bucket in isolation or otherwise. This was the Sixers’ biggest need, and now that they have it, expectations on how far they can go are likely to increase. There is a problem, however, and it revolves around the Ben Simmons/Markelle Fultz conundrum. Neither of them are willing three point shooters, so it’s necessary to surround them with shooters. Losing Covington and Saric hurts spacing, which now becomes the Sixers’ biggest barrier. JJ Redick and Landry Shamet will be relied on even more than before, and another rotation shooter will be needed at some point via either trade or the buyout market.
Kyle Korver and Trevor Ariza are at the top of my personal list and would instantly give them the depth, shooting, and defense necessary to reach the NBA finals. Overall, this is a trade the team had to make even though it hurts to lose RoCo and Dario. Jimmy Butler is the third star we’ve been clamoring for. All three stars are two-way players, and he should thrive here if everything goes well. It does, however, make them somewhat thinner, and acquiring a role player or two could really make a difference in how far our new big three can go. In an unrelated but equally important note, acquiring Jimmy Butler, in addition to having Joel Embiid, makes the 76ers the most gif-able team of ALL TIME.
There’s one word that best describes this trade: bittersweet. As a Sixers fan my whole life, I’ve been a fan of most of the players that have come through Philadelphia. Dario Saric and Robert Covington were at the top of my most loved players list. Dario gave up money and moved halfway across the world to play for the Sixers, and you could tell he gave it everything he had every night. Covington was a roller coaster ride I never wanted to get off. An undrafted player that has far exceeded any expectations coming out of college. A 3 and D specialist who is coming off an All-NBA Defense First Team season. They will be missed…but it’s just the next progression of the Process.
Dario is 24 years old and has one more year left on his contract. He becomes a restricted free-agent in 2020-21 and could potentially return to the Sixers as he enters his prime if he wanted to. Covington is poised to become a centerpiece of the Timberwolves as he enters his prime. Covington signed a 4 year, almost $47 million contract and is locked up until 2021-2022, his age 30 season. The Timberwolves got two players who are instant contributors. The Wolves have control for at least 2 years including this one.
Now, let’s turn the focus to Jimmy Butler. There’s still a bit of shock as I write this. I would be remiss to leave Sam Hinkie out here. He had a vision that the entire city of Philadelphia got behind. The man is a genius. We now have Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Jimmy Butler. With some savvy moves at the end of the season, we can resign Butler and sign another big free agent. Butler has a player option for just under $20 million after this season. He will likely opt-out to negotiate a longer term deal.
We don’t lose much on the defensive end as Butler is still an elite defender. Butler isn’t as good from three as Covington when hot, however, he is more consistent than Covington. Butler this season is averaging 21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1 block per game. He is shooting 47% from the field and 38% from three. His effective FG% is the highest of his career. All this on a team that supposedly hates playing together.
I cannot wait to have Butler on the court. Watch out Eastern Conference, #heretheycome.
I am cautiously optimistic. Obviously, it is hard to see guys like Dario and Covington go, but the team was kind of capped as they were currently constructed. Now, with one of the top wings in the league (Butler), the Sixers have a legitimate chance to contend in the East this season. I am also happy that the trade happened early in the season because it will give a large enough sample size to analyze the long-term situation and how it can all fit together. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Jimmy Butler are as good defensively as any team in the league’s top 3 guys. I hope they can add some shooting/scoring soon to help round them out.
What I am low-key most excited about is the potential for Jimmy to help us learn more about Ben Simmons (sooner rather than later). I think the Sixers need Ben to develop offensively in order to reach their full potential, and I am hopeful that Jimmy will push him to develop his game in that regard. Either way, it will likely come to a head sooner rather than later. I am getting tired of the same old, same old there.
When the trade happened my heart sank. I had been thinking it was time to move on from Dario, but Robert Covington was a core piece of what makes the Process special. Losing him in a bold and risky trade really was tough to take.
Having said that, Jimmy Butler is everything the Sixers need. Superstar talent and a toughness and hard nosed edge that fits the personality of Philadelphia perfectly. His ability to handle the ball and create shots for himself and others solves the biggest problem from the Celtics series last year. If he integrates well with the other personalities in the locker room, then this will prove as a good trade.
I was an emotional mess on Saturday. The trade went down when I was with some of my Penn State friends in my home town. I honestly didn’t know how to deal with it and decided it would be best to stay off Twitter until Sunday. Dario Saric and Robert Covington will forever be two of my all-time favorite Sixers. Here is my take – I signed up for the journey of this team learning to play together. I wanted to allow Markelle Fultz to accept his growing pains in his path to learning how to fit next to Ben Simmons. I stood firm on the hill that Robert Covington is one of the most underrated sports stars in Philadelphia. Dario Saric is the ultimate team player, and I have no doubt he would have given up his kidney at an instant for any player on the Sixers. Accepting this trade not only means saying goodbye to Dario and RoCo, it could also very well mean saying RIP to Markelle Fultz who will likely be traded before the February 7th trade deadline.
But here is critical truth: Joel Embiid is playing so well that the Sixers’ championship window was bumped to right now versus 2-3 years from now. In contrast, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz have not shown the progression that Sixers ownership wants to see. Through 93 games in Philly, Ben Simmons has shown zero signs that he is ready to step up offensively and be the #2 guy when it counts in the fourth quarter. The bridge between these two factors was only expanding as Joel continues his MVP season. To get Jimmy Butler without giving up Fultz or any of our first round picks is a great deal and I give TONS of credit to Elton Brand for putting his stamp on the team (unlike that previous snake Bryan Colangelo who did nothing but create burner accounts and wear fancy collars). As Sixers fans, we’re entering new and uncharted territory. The Process is over. The journey of Ben and Markelle learning to play together is over. The days of moral victories and star developing are over. The Sixers are officially in “win now mode,” and it couldn’t be more bittersweet.
Best of luck to the Homie and RoCo – we will all miss you.