Did 76ers’ Daryl Morey hint at a potential Jimmy Butler trade?

Morey's description of his ideal offseason target sounds a lot like the Miami Heat star.
Apr 6, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) and Miami
Apr 6, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) and Miami / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Up in Philadelphia on Monday, speaking to the media on the same day as Miami Heat boss Pat Riley, 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey promised his fanbase that changes are coming to the roster that could include acquiring a star a lot like the Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler.

Asked what the 76ers’ biggest need is this offseason, Morey was direct.

“Someone at the wing who can play and deliver at a high level in the playoffs,” Morey said. “That’s the biggest need.”

A wing who can deliver in the playoffs?

Someone like… Playoff Jimmy?

Although this might sound like a stretch (after all, who doesn’t want a wing who can deliver in the playoffs in today’s NBA?) it’s especially notable given the noise around a potential Butler-76ers reunion.

“The player at the top of their list is Paul George,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said last week when talking about the 76ers’ offseason targets. But, as Windhorst pointed out, George could return to the LA Clippers on a new contract. 

If that’s the case, the 76ers could try to use their cap space by absorbing the salary of a player in a trade. “The first name to watch is Jimmy Butler from the Miami Heat,” Windhorst added, noting that Butler could be available if the Heat are unwilling to extend him this summer.

The 76ers appear ready to overhaul the roster around Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. Most of their players will be free agents and they will have about $55 million in cap space. Morey has signaled that he wants to build a team that is ready to compete for a championship next season.

“We’re mostly going to be a veteran-laden team after an offseason where there’s going to be a lot of change,” Morey said.

Could one of those veterans be 35-year-old Jimmy Butler? A lot would have to happen between now and then—including the Heat denying their star player an extension—but the seeds have been planted for what could potentially be a wild NBA offseason.