“He said he just wants to win,” Simmons said before Saturday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. “I think that’s the mindset we all have here. We’re excited to get Jimmy in here.”
Simmons and Butler talked on Saturday after the 76ers agreed to a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to send the disgruntled four-time All-Star to Philadelphia. The 76ers are sending forwards Robert Covington and Dario Saric, guard Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick to Minnesota for Butler and forward Justin Patton, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.
Simmons said there is “a sad side to it,” referring to the departures of popular teammates who helped the 76ers advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals last season. But Simmons expects Butler to elevate Philadelphia in the East pecking order.
“You add another All-Star to the team, definitely,” said Simmons, who was already part of one of the league’s most talented duos along with All-Star center Joel Embiid. “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.”
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown could not comment on Butler because the trade has yet to become official.
Simmons acknowledged that the 76ers would go through an adjustment period after adding Butler — “Hopefully, it’s quicker than expected” — but he downplayed concerns about meshing with another ball-dominant player.
“It’s not going to affect my game,” Simmons said. “I know how to play, wherever you want me on the floor. But at the same time, I know what I’m good at, I know what I can do on the floor. Him coming in helps us, adds another scorer out there, another vet who can play the game the right way. He’s going to fit in with us.”
Simmons anticipates that the Sixers’ Big Three would develop chemistry based on a common bond.
“Between me, Jo and Jimmy, we all have that similar mindset,” Simmons said. “We hate losing. That pisses us off. We want to win.”