Ex-Bull Butler going to 76ers
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, a former Bull, 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 stillwas pending NBA approval, which is not expected until Monday.
Justin Patton also will be sent to Philadelphia, and Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick are also going to Minnesota, the person said.
The Athletic first reported the agreement.
Because the trade was not official, Sixers coach Brett Brown had little comment.
“I can’t speak much about it. I’m sorry,” he said before the Sixers played Memphis.
Sixers guard T.J. McConnell said he learned of the deal through social media.
“I didn’t think it was true until more reports started coming out,” McConnell said. “It’s kind of that feeling in your stomach of just like, I mean, you can’t really explain it. I was in disbelief.”
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 player and outstanding defender, will join them in a quest to rule the Eastern Conference now that LeBron James is out West with the Los Angeles Lakers following eight straight trips to the NBA Finals with Miami and Cleveland.
The drama has been constant from Butler’s first practice with the Wolves this season, and the team’s start while waiting for this inevitable move has been lousy. 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, 29, 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.
Butler’s a career 16.5 point-per-game scorer, though that is skewed by his first two seasons, which were meager on the scoring front. He’s on pace this season to average at least 20 points for the fifth consecutive year.