The 76ers added four time All Star Jimmy Butler to their team on Saturday afternoon. Butler, 29, comes to Philadelphia, along with Justin Patton, in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and a 2022 2nd round draft pick.
Butler had a falling out with Minnesota over the summer. The Wolves did not fulfill his trade request before the season began, which led to Butler becoming outspokenly critical of the team and the competitiveness of his teammates, namely Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Butler is a free agent after this season, and the Sixers are reportedly prepared to pay him a max contract.
In terms of his fit, Butler is an ideal one on this roster. He’s the true third star that the team needs; a shot creator and multi-positional defender. He’s certainly an upgrade over Robert Covington as a complete player, though the level of their defense may be fairly even. Dario Saric has struggled to score with any consistency this season, Butler can almost replace the scoring of those two players by himself. His personality is another question entirely. Clearly Butler is competitive, apparently more than Towns and Wiggins were willing to be in Minnesota. Will Embiid, Simmons, and the young Markelle Fultz be able to rise to the personal challenges that Butler poses to his teammates? That might be the deciding factor in whether this trade is worthwhile.
There are also legitimate concerns over Butler’s health. He’s only played all 82 games once in a season, and played more than 70 games just once since 2013. Some of that may mileage may stem from playing under Tom Thibadeau in Chicago and Minnesota, who famously pushes his players to play a lot of minutes. Not counting his rookie season, Butler has averaged over 35 minutes per game for his career. That could change in Philadelphia, a team that has been more cautious about player health.