Philly gets its star
Philly sends Saric, Covington to Minnesota for disgruntled star.
Sixers complete their Big Three, dealing for Jimmy Butler to pair with Embiid, Simmons.
Jimmy Butler has his wish: He’s out of Minnesota.
And just like that, Philadelphia has a new Big Three — one that could make serious noise in the Eastern Conference.
A person with knowledge of the situation said Saturday that Butler is being traded to the 76ers in a package that will send Dario Saric and Robert Covington to the Timberwolves. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade had not yet been announced by either team and was still pending NBA approval, which might not come until Monday.
Justin Patton will also be sent to Philadelphia, and Jarryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick are also going to Minnesota, the person said.
The Athletic first reported the agreement.
Philadelphia’s “Process” led it to the second round of the playoffs last season behind two of the game’s youngest, brightest stars in big man Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons. Butler, an elite wing and outstanding defender, will join them in a quest to rule the Eastern Conference now that Lebron James has left that league to join the Los Angeles Lakers following eight straight trips to the NBA Finals with Miami and Cleveland.
The first order of business will be making the trade official, something that could come 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.
Butler has been miserable in Minnesota, and the Timberwolves have gotten off to a lousy start waiting for this inevitable move to happen. Minnesota just finished an 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, 29, has been an All-star in each of the last four seasons.
Philadelphia will become Butler’s third team, after Chicago and Minnesota. He’s a career 16.5 point-pergame scorer.
Saric is in his third season and averaging 11.1 points, shooting only 36 percent. Covington had been a starter for Philadelphia for the bulk of the last fourplus seasons and is averaging 11.3 points per game this year.
Jimmy Butler, right, is headed to Philadelphia, ending the weeks-long saga of him wanting out of Minnesota.