(Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Jimmy Butler makes his much-anticipated debut tonight in Orlando.
The trade has been made. The press conferences have taken place. There’s only one thing left for Jimmy Butler to do and it’s take the floor for the Philadelphia 76ers. His presence marks a new era for The Process. It signifies the next step for this 76ers team. The nucleus of assets the Sixers had wasn’t going to get them to a championship. It was time to parlay some of those assets into a star player and that’s what Elton Brand did by giving up Dario and Covington for Butler. While their contributions and dedication will certainly be missed, there’s no question the Sixers are a better team after the Butler deal.
The Sixers have the two cornerstones they need in Embiid and Simmons. Every other asset collected from The Process in my opinion is and was expendable. It’s not to say the Sixers have no more assets available. They still have the Heat’s pick in 2021 to go with their own picks. Players like Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet will certainly have value. The most important asset is the cap space the Sixers will have after this season. They could have up to 21 million in cap space. If they choose to move on from Markelle Fultz, they would then have almost enough money to offer a max contract to someone like Kyrie Irving or Klay Thompson.
But that’s next year, let’s get back to the present for a minute. The Sixers will take on the Magic in Butler’s coming out party. Let’s get one thing out there. Jimmy Butler is a dawg out there on that court and will grind it out whichever way it takes in order to win. He will endear himself to the Philly faithful from the moment he steps on the floor because of that. Not only does his hustle match the city, but his game is what the Sixers needed. The Sixers now have a guy who can get buckets in iso situations when needed. They now have someone who plays well out of the pick and roll. Butler will become their crunch time scorer and take that burden off of Embiid. The end of games basically became the Embiid and Redick show. Teams will now be forced to key in on Butler in late game situations.
The acquisition of Butler will open up the floor for everybody. It will make Embiid and Simmons’ job a whole lot easier. The Sixers still have more than enough shooting despite trading away Saric and Covington. Butler is a capable three-point shooter, Redick, Muscala, Chandler and Shamet can all shoot the 3 as well. So, I don’t understand the national pundits saying the Sixers don’t have any shooters. The current roster is also far from a finished product. They will add more shooting and defense at the deadline, whether by trade or players that have been bought out.
Make no mistake about it, this was just the first step in making the Sixers a championship team. I expect Butler to help the Sixers get to the Eastern Conference Finals before ultimately falling to the Celtics or Raptors. The Sixers will once again head into the offseason star hunting with all their cap space and assets on the table.