The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported Thursday afternoon that the Sixers have decided not to pursue Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Jimmy Butler after some preliminary conversations between the two sides.
All the noise about Jimmy Butler yesterday was about Miami, but it’s clear Minnesota’s price tag remains extremely high. To highlight one rumored team, I’m told Philly is currently completely out of the JB situation and has never had any traction after preliminary discussions.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) September 27, 2018
Butler has been the big story of the NBA over the past few weeks after requesting a trade from the ‘Wolves after just one season with the team.
There have been plenty of rumors over what caused the falling out between Butler and the organization, most notably an apparent rift between him and All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns.
After Brett Brown’s “star-hunting” comments made during the NBA Draft, the Sixers have been attached to every superstar looking for a change of scenery, making Butler-to-the-Sixers rumors a given since the news dropped.
It would have been irresponsible for Philly to not exercise their due diligence when a player of that caliber becomes a possibility, but it seems that the organization is not willing to take a flyer on a player surrounded in controversy for the price tag Minnesota is asking.
This move makes sense for a young team like the Sixers. While Butler is an unbelievable talent, coming off a 22 point, five rebound, and five assist per game season that ended in a first-round loss to Houston, there are far too many risks for such a promising team to take on at the moment.
With LeBron out of the East, the Sixers window becomes significantly larger and letting go of young talent and assets for a 29-year-old looking for a long-term max contract would be a win-now move, one that Philly does not need to make.
The fit from a basketball situation is ideal. Butler can get buckets at any moment, the type of player Philly desperately needed (and still needs) to contend with Boston and the new look Raptors.
Defensively, Butler is one of the league’s top talents and seeing him alongside Joel Embiid, Simmons, and Robert Covington would be a scary sight for opposing offenses.
Butler’s concerns come from an off-the-court standpoint, where, for the second season in a row, Butler has created conflict with his teammates that are going to leave him on his third team in as many years.
If it’s true that Butler was unhappy with Andrew Wiggins’ and Towns’ immaturity, then it’s not clear whether a relationship with Embiid and the rest of the team’s young core would blossom into something distraction-free.
The Sixers had to consider the possibility of bringing Butler onboard. If the falling-out hurt Butler’s trade value to the point of a buy-low situation, the risks may have been worth it.
If Minnesota refuses to budge, which it seems like they are, then any move Philly makes to acquire the four-time All-Star drastically impacts their timeline in an Eastern Conference ready for the taking.