The Jimmy Butler saga is over in Minnesota.
The Timberwolves agreed to trade Butler to Philadelphia on Saturday, according to a source, ending an odd, two-month drama between the team and its star wing.
Butler and Timberwolves’ 2017 first-round pick Justin Patton will go to Philadelphia in exchange for wings Dario Saric and Robert Covington, veteran point guard Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick, The Athletic reported.
Butler requested a trade in September and missed most all of training camp before returning to the team in time for the start of the regular season.
Initially, head coach and personnel chief Tom Thibodeau appeared reluctant to deal Butler, and the tenacity with which he pursued a Butler deal was questioned on many occasions. But Minnesota’s slow start likely played a factor in the move. The Wolves on Friday completed a winless, five-game road trip with a loss at Sacramento.
Minnesota really had no choice but to move Butler, who wasn’t going to re-sign with the team this offseason. The Wolves’ choices were to make a deal, or play out the season and lose the All-NBA wing in free agency for nothing.
Minnesota nets two talented wings who are under contract past this season.
Covington is the type of defensive stopper the Wolves needed to replace Butler on that end, and both Saric and Covington add outside shooting Minnesota always needs, and can play without the ball, a critical feature for players who will play alongside the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Derrick Rose.
For Philadelphia, the move adds a third star to play alongside young Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, two of the game’s top young players. The addition of Butler makes the 76ers one of the premier threats to win the Eastern Conference.
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