Philly Front Office - Sixers

Possible Sign-and-Trade Scenarios for Jimmy Butler

Recently, PFO’s own Brian Jacobs reported that there is some doubt on if Jimmy Butler will return in the upcoming offseason. Expect the team to possibly explore sign-and-trade situations if he’s planning to bolt.

Obviously keeping Jimmy Butler is the ideal situation for Philadelphia and Elton Brand. After all, the Sixers invested a slew of assets for him (including starters’ Robert Covington and Dario Saric). 

A sign-and-trade type situation may be the best possible thing for both sides, if Jimmy decides he wants out. It would give the Sixers a chance to recoup some lost assets that they gave away to acquire him. 

Keep in mind that most sign-and-trade type deals are not equal value, and it’s very rare (if ever) that they are considered “even.” Sign-and-trades exist just to give a team some form of asset for losing a player in free agency. 

These types of deals are typically rare for a few reasons. As a player can sign with a new team outright, a player won’t want to weaken their new team. On top of that, matching salary in a moving offseason can be hard. 

A sign-and-trade type situation would allow Jimmy Butler to get a fully max 4/5 year deal, as a team would be signing him using bird rights. There could be motivation to do so. 

So, what are some possible sign-and-trade offers we could see take form? Let’s fire up the trade machine and see:

Trade #1: Jimmy Butler to the Nets

Sixers Receive:  Joe Harris, Caris LeVert, Hornets 2021 second round pick 
Nets Receive: Jimmy Butler

The Brooklyn Nets are a team that constantly find themselves in the midst of Jimmy Butler rumors; there’s obvious interest in him. 

Butler would work well with any possible max-level free agent they could get, or with their franchise player in D’Angelo Russell. 

The Nets would win out in this type of trade, but the Sixers would gain some decent assets in return in Joe Harris and Caris LeVert. 

Joe Harris has proven to become one of the best league shooters and the Sixers would completely welcome what he brings. He’s big enough to play either wing spot and would provide some much-needed depth to the bench. 

The Nets probably would be reluctant to include LeVert in a trade, but it isn’t unrealistic. LeVert will be looking for a decent pay raise in the fall, and the Nets may not want to pay him with his injury history. He has talent for sure, but the Nets may opt for more salary cap flexibility. 

There is a small chance we see the Brooklyn Nets give up any form of first round pick, as the franchise has been void of them since the awful Celtics-Nets trade. In this situation, the Sixers would pick up a quality second round pick to help sweeten the deal. 

Trade #2: Jimmy Butler heading West

Sixers Receive:  Lou Williams, 2020 Sixers first round pick
Clippers Receive: Jimmy Butler

The Clippers are definitely the team you would want to negotiate a sign-and-trade with. The team has done an excellent job at getting quality contract and players on their roster. There’s a lot to choose from. 

In this situation, the Sixers get back two things that they’ve had in the past: their own pick and Lou Williams. 

This trade would be extremely valuable for the Sixers, as Lou Williams has proven to be the best sixth man in the league. He can get a bucket at any moment and can help you close out a game. He’s also on a steal of a contract, earning $8 million and $1.5 million over the next two years respectively. 

The Sixers would also gain back one of their picks that they gave up to acquire Tobias Harris. While it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a late first rounder, it doesn’t hurt to pick up a young prospect on a valuable rookie contract. 

This trade would also open up a good size of salary cap room over the next two seasons. The Sixers would get roughly $20 million extra in cap space to help address their biggest weakness: bench depth. 

In Conclusion: 

As stated before, sign-and-trades are pretty hard to do (which is why they are typically uncommon). There are only a select amount of teams in which this type of scenario can be pulled off. 

There are obviously more suitors than just two teams, but that’s where things can get difficult. Jimmy Butler has had interest in joining the Miami Heat, but it would be impossible for him to sign there with their salary cap issues. 

The only way Butler would be able to sign in Miami is if the team would sign-and-trade him. This situation seems highly unlikely as the Sixers will have little interest in most of the hefty contracts currently on the Heat roster. 

The Sixers number one priority this summer is to retain their free agents in Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler. Butler is incredibly important to the Sixers, even if he is sometimes polarizing in the eyes of fans. 

Hopefully there will be no need to look back on this article in a few months, but if things go downhill, the Sixers will certainly need to evaluate their options.


Harrison Grimm

Harrison Grimm joined PFO Philly in November 2018, doing work for the Philadelphia 76ers and Delaware Blue Coats. Also doing work on The Sixer Sense, he provides in-depth analysis on everything Sixers. He recently entered the podcasting world, and runs the The Sixers Scoop podcast. Harrison attends Millersville University, and is majoring in Communications. His goal is to pursue a front office role in the NBA world.

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