The Jimmy Butler saga is over; or maybe it’s just beginning.
The Timberwolves have agreed to send their disgruntled All-Star to the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, for a package that includes Robert Covington and Dario Saric. The deal adds a third star to the duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, making Philadelphia a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference.
The Timberwolves will also surrender injured big man Justin Patton as well as a second-round pick as part of the trade, with Jerryd Bayless going to Minnesota, according to Shams Charania of the Athletic. It’s a meager return for one of the premier wings in all of basketball, but with Minnesota losing five games in a row, something had to be done.
THE SIXERS FINALLY HAVE A BIG 3
It’s one they were supposed to have when they drafted Markelle Fultz No. 1 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. But Fultz had his struggles, leaving a gaping hole in a Sixers back court that lacked a perimeter playmaker and shot-creator.
Butler projects to fill that hole. His skill-set is identical to Simmons’, in that he’s a play-making slasher by nature. But he’s also worked himself into a reliable shooter. It’s what’s turned him into one of the best two-way players in this league.
The Wolves uhhh... what?
Minnesota gave up Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the pick that became Lauri Markkanen for Butler and the pick that became Justin Patton. They just turned Butler and Patton into Robert Covington and Dario Saric. What a time to be alive.
Here’s the thing, though: Another 3-and-D wing who doesn’t need the ball to be effective (Covington) is a perfect get for Andrew Wiggins’ development. And an inside-outside stretch four (Saric) is versatile, giving Karl-Anthony Towns free reign to work wherever he wants on the court.
This trade is interesting for Minnesota, but they probably could have done a lot better had they shopped elsewhere for a Butler trade.