The 76ers added a new All-Star to their roster Saturday in a blockbuster deal for Jimmy Butler, and several players already have expressed their confidence in the addition of the 29-year-old forward.
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons discussed the trade with ESPN after their 112-106 overtime loss to the Grizzlies. The two are excited about their future with Butler and think they have a chance at winning the East.
“They thought that he was going to be good for us,” Embiid said. “They thought that we were definitely going to get along. He wants to win. Wiggs [Andrew Wiggins] told me that he thought that we were going to win the East for sure.
“I think he’s going to help us a lot — offensively and especially defensively, too. I think he’s one of the best defensive players in the league. I’m excited to see where he takes us and how much better we’re going to look.”
Simmons agreed with Embiid as he said he is excited to add a player that wants to win and is as competitive as Butler.
“He said he just wants to win,” Simmons said. “I think that’s the mindset we all have here. We’re excited to get Jimmy in here.
“You add another All-Star to the team, definitely. A guy like him who can come in, score the ball, veteran leadership, experience — he’s going to fit in here. Our culture is winning, playing together as a team and playing hard. I think he’s going to bring that.”
Embiid also said that he won’t be bothered if he is confronted by Butler, who is known for creating tension in the past with the Timberwolves for calling out players. Instead, Embiid believes it will help him and the rest of the team.
“If it’s something I should do and it’s going to make me better, then yes, that’s great,” Embiid told ESPN. “I want to win. I think everybody in the league knows that I’m a competitor and I want to win. … If it’s beneficial for me and for the team, then no problem. But if it’s something that I don’t think is going to be good for this franchise, then that’s not OK. I think everybody knows that I say whatever I want, whatever comes to my mind. I don’t have no problem doing that.
“But I’m excited having him. I think we can build something special. I’m excited to go out there and play and have someone else help carry the load. Hopefully, we make it to the Finals and have a shot at the title.”
The 76ers and Timberwolves reportedly agreed to a deal Saturday that sends Butler and forward Justin Patton to Philadelphia for forwards Robert Covington and Dario Saric.
Butler isn’t expected to make his debut for the 76ers until Wednesday against the Magic at the earliest.