By Evan Krawczuk, Contributing Writer
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Houston Rockets are pursuing Jimmy Butler in the form of a sign and trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Rockets want to create a big three with Butler, James Harden and Chris Paul. They could offer Butler a max contract but they know the Sixers can offer a super max that includes an extra year and more money. Therefore, the Rockets are willing to give up pieces to acquire Jimmy through a trade to get that extra year and to make sure their guy gets paid. Let’s dive into a possible trade and what some pros and cons could be for the Sixers.
Sixers Receive: Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker and 2023 First Round pick
Rockets Receive: Jimmy Butler
Depth: This trade would help the depth a lot. The Sixers would essentially be taking the money for one guy in Butler and allotting the money to three other efficient players. The bench was a weak spot for the Sixers last year and the bench would automatically be upgraded with a great 3-and-D guy in P.J. Tucker. Tucker can defend multiple positions and shot 37% from deep last season.
Cap Space: Cap space and depth go hand-in-hand. The more cap space a team has, the more people they can pay, the deeper their team can be. Butler would an expensive option, not only for this season, but for the next five seasons. People forget Butler will be 30 at the start of this season. Will Jimmy Butler be worth $38 million when he’s 35? This could open up the cap space not just this season, but down the line too.
Defense: If this trade goes through and the Sixers re-sign Tobias Harris, the starting lineup could be: Ben Simmons, Eric Gordon, Tobias Harris, Clint Capela and Joel Embiid. First of all, that lineup is enormous. The lineup does not really fit the small ball meta that has been on the rise but this lineup would be lockdown defensively. The rim protection would be impeccable and Simmons and Gordon are great on the perimeter.
Losing Jimmy Butler: Jimmy Butler was the leader of this Sixers team last year. He was also the go-to guy in the fourth quarter, which the Sixers desperately needed. He gave the offense some spacing, ran point guard at times and was lock down against elite guards on the defensive end. Not only did Butler perform on the court but also in the locker room. Butler was a vocal, motivational leader and pushed the younger guys in big games. The loss of Butler would be a huge hit to Embiid and Simmons and the Sixers as a whole.
Offensive Spacing: Again, assuming the Sixers sign Harris, the starting lineup could be: Ben Simmons, Eric Gordon, Tobias Harris, Clint Capela and Joel Embiid. The spacing would be awkward. Obviously, Simmons can’t shoot (yet), Gordon is a sharp shooter so that could go well, Harris is more of a slasher/mid-range guy so he won’t be creating that much space and Capela and Embiid are most effective under the basket. Opposing defenses could pack the paint and force the sixers to find other ways to score.
Chemistry: Brett Brown noted last year that he felt like he had three different teams last year with all the trades Elton Brand pulled off. What would this trade do to that narrative? Four teams in two seasons? That has chemistry issues written all over it. The “Big 5” the Sixers had started to click towards the end of the season and the playoffs. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? The chemistry could be at an all-time high if they bring everyone back from last year and the Sixers could end up making an even deeper run this upcoming season.