After weeks of speculation, the Minnesota Timberwolves parted with Jimmy Butler. And it was the Philadelphia 76ers who rattled the NBA world by acquiring the All-Star.
While the trade certainly opens up things in the West a little bit, it makes the top of the Eastern Conference very crowded. As the news of the trade broke, it set a precedent that the 76ers were simply unwilling to go through the free agency process again, after striking out last summer on all the top names.
It also possibly shifts the Los Angeles Lakers strategy as well, as the Clippers appear to be serious competition in the fight for free agents.
However, that was far back in the mind of LeBron James, who focused on how strong this 76ers team is going forward. And if the East looked impossible to predict before, this only makes it even more chaotic, via ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk:
“I think they were a contender before. It only enhances what they’re able to do. You got Ben, Joel, and now you add Jimmy. I think that’s a very, very good team.”
The idea of a Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Butler big three definitely seems terrifying in theory. But, like with any big three, there will be issues at first.
Simmons and Butler are both ball-dominant players, and none of the All-Star trio have ever been consistent from three-point range. Of course, these are all things that can be fixed over time, and is James sounds bullish of this new-look 76ers team, it’s likely for a reason.
The 76ers will need some time to adjust, but they now seem to be right back in the mix with the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks after a shaky start to the season.