After several weeks of dissension and trade talks, star guard Jimmy Butler on Saturday was dealt from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 76ers will send forwards Robert Covington and Dario Saric, as well as guard Jerryd Bayless, and a 2022 second-round pick for Butler and forward Justin Patton, according to ESPN. The deal has yet to be finalized.
Butler, 29, is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract this summer. The Sixers have the option of weighing whether to sign him based on how he performs for the upcoming 69 games.
Which team got the better end of the trade? On paper, both teams seemed to have done well for themselves.
The Sixers held on to some of their key players, while adding a top perimeter scorer. Philadelphia has an eye on reaching the finals for the first time since 2001 and Butler will have to prove himself in a contract year. Butler has averaged 20 points per game or better since the 2014-15 season.
Along with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Butler joins a roster that includes sharpshooter J.J. Redick and former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz. That could be enough for the Sixers to overtake the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors in the East.
The Timberwolves will miss Butler’s scoring and intensity, but they accomplished some key goals. They sent a disgruntled player to the Eastern Conference and didn’t cave to his demands to deal him to a team of his choice after his several public spats.
The Wolves are also much deeper and younger after the trade. Saric, 24, and Covington, 27, strength the frontcourt with their size and both are double-digit scorers. Neither player is shooting particularly well to start the season, but both posted solid numbers in 2017-18.
The Wolves had the option of accepting a deal with the Houston Rockets that involved four first-round picks. However, this trade seems to have netted the team more and keeps them in contention this season. The Rockets’ picks likely would have been very late in the first round.