Storyline: Jimmy Butler to Sixers?

57 rumors in this storyline

It​ was​ nearly​ midnight​ inside the Citizen Hotel in downtown​ Sacramento on​ Friday,​ and Minnesota Timberwolves​ general​ manager​​ Scott Layden was the only one in the crowded room still working. … It was time to put the Jimmy Butler saga out to pasture. I had no clue at the time that the Timberwolves had reached their breaking point. Layden was clearly focused on his conversation, and so I waved from a distance and offered a thumbs up as a way of saying hello in the most placid way possible. To my surprise, Layden — who had spent these past two months giving thumbs downs to every trade offer that came their way — offered a thumbs up in return. Little did I know: The T-Wolves were finally going to say yes.

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According to a league source, the talks with Philadelphia were rekindled on Wednesday. The Sixers, who had announced Elton Brand as their new general manager on the same Sept. 18 day that Butler’s trade demand went public, put forth a take-it-or-leave-it style offer and waited for an answer. According to our Jon Krawczynski, Minnesota was deliberating between three offers. Houston was known to be among the most aggressive suitors, but sources say the Rockets would ultimately be convinced that Minnesota had been hell-bent on sending Butler to the Eastern Conference all along. It’s unclear if Miami was still in play or if there was another team involved at the end.

Shortly after that meeting, Butler had a conversation with Taylor to get the ball rolling on an exit strategy. Taylor was more open to the idea than Thibodeau was initially and promised to pursue all avenues to grant his request, sources said. The owner told Thibodeau and Layden on Sept. 22 to be proactive in seeking out possibilities to bring to his desk, but what followed was a mind-numbing process filled with mixed messages. Thibodeau and Layden took hard-line stances in negotiations, according to team sources who entered into the talks. Several owners reached out to Taylor directly, and while those conversations felt more productive, Taylor resisted calls to make a unilateral move.

Sources familiar with the situation insist the Sixers’ interest in Butler has been overstated throughout the process. High-ranking members of the front office have noted Butler’s clashing with the young pieces surrounding him in Minnesota, primarily Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and remain wary of introducing Butler’s personality into a locker room and culture they have spent years building under head coach Brett Brown, as PhillyVoice reported in mid-September.

Adrian Wojnarowski: “Houston, to me, is the one team in this entire process, the only team in this process, who can rightly believe, ‘If we trade for Jimmy Butler, we think he helps us win a championship this year.’ There’s not another team who can say that who’s really involved in this. The one team that has been on the periphery, and I still think could be heard from in this, is Philadelphia. Because I think they’re a little like Houston right now in that they’re evaluating themselves and they’re saying, ‘Not only are not sure we didn’t improve from last year, I’m not sure we’ll even be the same team.'”
1 month ago via ESPN

But the Warriors won’t have four in-their-prime stars forever. Chris Paul is 33. Towns has a chance to be the most versatile scoring big man in history. You’re gonna leave that dude to go to Miami and play with … who? You’re gonna move to Brooklyn, even though Irving scuttled the dream of teaming up there? Philly would be a different story, and Butler has eyes for them, sources familiar with the matter say. The Sixers have expressed almost no interest in trading for him, sources say. There is some theoretical road map to a Clippers team-up with Leonard.

The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly sought Ben Simmons in a potential Jimmy Butler trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. Appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast on Thursday, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor explained just how high the Timberwolves’ asking price is for their disgruntled shooting guard: “One of the things that I’ve heard from a handful of sources is that—with the Sixers for example—the initial offer that they made, the counter-offer was like, ‘We need Ben Simmons in a deal.'”

Would the Sixers entertain the idea of acquiring Butler if he came at a massive discount on the trade market? Almost certainly. They’re not in the business of turning down the opportunity to acquire a star player for next to nothing, and they’re not unique in that sense. In a competitive marketplace, with Butler declaring a preferred destination list that doesn’t include Philadelphia? That’s a different story. There’s a reason the Sixers have continued to lock down one-year deals and not rock the boat after striking out on max free agents this summer — they like what they have in place, and they don’t necessarily want to disrupt that with unnecessary or unworthy risk.

PhillyVoice conducted numerous discussions with people around the team after the Butler trade demand broke Wednesday, and my sense is the Sixers are extremely wary of the idea of Butler, specifically related to the clashes he’s had with young teammates in both Chicago and Minnesota. The role players they have around their stars double as their most valuable movable trade chips, and the Sixers value their character as much as their output. … Never say never, but Butler to Philadelphia seems like an unlikely proposition at this stage. With young stars in the fold and strong culture years in the making, the Sixers seem to view chasing Butler’s upside as a risk they’d rather let someone else take.
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One week after a blowout loss in Sacramento that sealed the fate of his two-month trade saga, Butler is enjoying his new reality with the Philadelphia 76ers — leading them to two straight victories, including a 28-point performance in his home debut on Friday night against Utah. He then had the game-winning 3-pointer and game-winning block to lift the Sixers past Charlotte and Kemba Walker’s 60 points on Saturday night. “Night and day,” Butler told The Athletic of his new situation.