For the Philadelphia 76ers, the million dollar question is whether they’ll trade Jimmy Butler ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. On the surface, it seems like a longshot, and in turn, the Sixers may be taking a major risk. The chatter around Butler’s future has been a big question ever since he arrived in Philly, but there was even more concern added recently.
According to The Ringer’s John Gonzalez, there’s concern that Butler will indeed leave in the upcoming offseason and opt to head elsewhere in free agency.
“People in and around the organization have expressed concern to me that Butler could bolt this offseason. They’re right to worry.” Gonzalez wrote.
This led to the speculation of whether the Sixers should opt to make a deal and prepare for the potential of that happening. After all, there have been other rumored issues involving Butler, but nothing has escalated to a public forum in any fashion.
Regardless, there’s certainly at least somewhat of a chance the team opts to move Butler, even if it’s a small one. So, let’s look at a few potential deals the Sixers could push to make.
*Note: All trades created with ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine.
Lou Williams Comes Back to Sixers
*Note: Sixers send a first-round pick to Clippers
The key here is the fact that Butler apparently had the Clippers on his list of destinations prior to the trade to Philly. If he still wants to go there and the team wants to sign him long-term, then this could work. But as The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported, the Clippers and Brooklyn Nets are expected to pursue Butler this offseason.
The fact there’s some belief Butler will leave and the Clippers are already planning to pursue him doesn’t help the Sixers’ case of making a deal. In turn, picking up Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell for him is a decent pull. Beyond that, they would also get a backup point guard and some depth inside behind Joel Embiid for the postseason.
The Non-Anthony Davis Trade With Pelicans
*Sixers send two first-round picks to Pelicans
To be clear, the world of trading Markelle Fultz seems unrealistic at this point. But if there were a chance the Sixers could convince the New Orleans Pelicans to send Jrue Holiday and the expiring deals of Nikola Mirotic and Elfrid Payton, it could be on the table.
As Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported, the team is “not ready to move on from Fultz” at this point.
The Sixers, according to sources around the league, are not ready to move on from Fultz, given the investment the franchise made into him, the utter cratering of his trade value and the fact that he’s only 20 years old and still has a chance to be productive.
Obviously, the only way this deal makes sense is if the Pelicans convince Butler to sign long-term with them (unlikely), or they are high on Fultz and he’s included with picks. The two first-rounders are essentially a must, and it still may not be enough to make this happen.
Sixers Swing Deal for Pistons’ Blake Griffin
*Sixers send two first-round picks to Pistons
If the Detroit Pistons put the idea of trading Blake Griffin on the table, they’re going to receive a ton of offers. Whether Butler would stay in Detroit long term seems like a huge question mark, which is what leads to two first-rounders being included. The addition of Fultz would help this deal, and again I’d have to envision that the team would move him if it meant adding Griffin and also some outside shooting in Reggie Bullock.
The outlook of a possible deal for Griffin would depend on what direction the Pistons are attempting to go. There’s a chance the Sixers could load up picks for an offer if they wanted to push to acquire him, but they don’t have the current pieces to compete with a few other teams unless Butler would re-sign.