Ex-Bull But­ler go­ing to 76ers

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - Sports - As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

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