in time to get Butler in uniform for a game at Miami on Monday. The next step for Philadelphia will be coming to an agreement on an extension for Butler, a pending free agent who made clear to Minnesota that he would not be resigning there in 2019.
Translated: The Wolves had to trade him, or they would lose him for nothing over the summer.
There has been Butler drama every step of the way this season.
ESPN reported that at his first practice with Minnesota this fall, Butler verbally challenged players, coaches and general manager Scott Layden while dominating in scrimmages, even when going up against stars like Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Butler said the report was true.
“All my emotion came out at one time,” Butler told ESPN later that day. “Was it the right way to do it? No. But I can’t control that when I’m out there competing. That’s my love of the game. That’s raw me. Me at my finest, me at my purest. That’s what you’re going to get inside the lines.”
Butler continued to be miserable in Minnesota, and the Timberwolves have gotten off to a lousy start waiting for this inevitable move. Minnesota finished a 0-5 road trip with a loss in Sacramento on Friday night and is 4-9 overall — winless in eight games on the road.
Butler played in 10 of those games, averaging 21.3 points. It was a peculiar arrangement; the Timberwolves were still running things through him often, even while the worst-kept secret in the NBA was that he wanted a change of address. Plenty of teams were mentioned along the way — Houston, the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami among them — as top candidates.
Butler, who turned 29 on Sept. 14, has been an All-Star in each of the last four seasons. There are also concerns, though they clearly didn’t put off Philadelphia. Butler has missed at least 15 games in four of the last five seasons, including a career-high 23 games last year while dealing with a knee injury.