Jimmy Butler Traded to Philadelphia 76ers

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Jimmy Butler Traded to Philadelphia 76ers

By Aaron Hook, Staff Writer

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The Jimmy Butler era in Minnesotan has come to an end. It started off looking extremely promising or Minnesota.

They shipped off young guards Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn, as well as a future first round pick that would turn into forward Lauri Markannen, to the Chicago Bulls for All-Star Guard Jimmy Butler. This all took place during the 2016 draft. Now, with Jimmy Butler becoming a locker room cancer and repeatedly requesting a trade out of Minnesota, the T-Wolves really had no other choice.

In his year and about a quarter with Minnesota, Butler put up All-Star-like numbers, averaging 22 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, and 4.8 assists per game on 47% field goal shooting and shooting 35% from behind the three-point arc. Last season, Butler, along with Minnesota’s two young rising stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, led Minnesota to its first playoff birth since 2004. They were made quick work of by the Houston Rockets in the first round, losing 4 games to 1. This was expected, however, considering Houston had the best record in the league and boasted a talented roster headlined by future Hall-Of-Farmer Chris Paul and MVP James Harden. After this, the T-Wolves looked forward to the 2018-19 season with optimism, and rightfully so; they had a returning all-star in Jimmy Butler, two young stars in Towns and Wiggins, a supporting cast of Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, and Gorgui Deng, and everybody in the locker room felt good about each other. Then, things started to go downhill.


Before the beginning of the 2018-19 regular season, reports came out that there was “beef” in the locker room between the veterans on the club and the young stars, Towns, and Wiggins. The vets were complaining that Towns and Wiggins didn’t play or work hard enough, calling them both “soft”. The leader of these vets complaining was none other than Jimmy Butler. He was so fed up with the two young stars that in one practice, Butler took the court, with the veteran backups, guys who didn’t usually play much but had stuck around the league for a while and competed against Towns, Wiggins, and the rest of the starters. Butler’s team won that scrimmage, and then Butler started taking massive steps in the direction of being traded. For a period of time, he totally disconnected himself from the team and didn’t even show up to practice. He was already a locker room cancer with the other players, but the thing he did next might have been even worse. A few days later, when Butler returned to practicing with the team, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Jimmy Butler had screamed multiple things at head coach Tom Thibodeau, GM Scott Layden, Towns, and Wiggins during practice. At one point in the practice, he yelled at Layden,  “You (bleeping) need me. You can’t win without me.” Butler left teammates and coaches largely speechless. He dominated the gym in every way. This was the last straw for Minnesota.


After opening up trade talks, the Houston Rockets offered 4 (!) future first round picks and sixth man of the year Eric Gordon in exchange for Butler. This offer looked too good to be true, but the Timberwolves actually declined that deal and the Butler drama continued. That brings us to the present day. Through the Wolves’ first 13 games, Butler played in 10 and put up his usual All-Star stat line of 21.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists. On Sunday, the Timberwolves finally shipped Butler off to the Philadelphia 76ers. In return, they received Guard Jarryd Bayless, Forwards Dario Saric and Robert Covington, and a second-round draft pick from Philly. Bayless was pretty much just a throw-in for salary cap purposes, the two main pieces that Minnesota received are Dario Saric and Robert Covington. Saric is a 24 year old forward who has been an essential part of the 76ers success the past two seasons. Saric is not fully developed yet and lacks a little bit on the defensive end of the floor, but on offense, he has already shown potential to be the second option on a playoff team. He can post up down on the block, set screens, rebound, and shoot threes. In his 3 seasons with Philly, Saric 13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 0.7 steals per game on 42% field goal shooting and 35% three-point shooting. He certainly has a ton of potential and will look to be a core part of Minnesota’s future. As for Robert Covington, he is an All-Team 1st Defense caliber player as he was elected to the team last year. He can also shoot the deep ball as he is a 36% three point shooter. Covington was another key part of the 76ers team that made the playoffs last season.

All in All, it is really too early to tell who won this trade. On Wednesday night, Jimmy Butler will play his first game with the Sixers against the Orlando Magic. The whole NBA world will be watching as the controversial star continues his journey with a new team and a new environment.


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