Source: Six­ers trade three play­ers, draft pick for But­ler

Centre Daily Times (Sunday) - - Sports - BY DAN GEL­STON

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.

An anony­mous source 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 trade is pend­ing NBA ap­proval, which is not ex­pected un­til Mon­day.

Justin Pat­ton will also 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 cen­ter 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 moved west to join the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers fol­low­ing eight straight NBA Fi­nals trips 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 re-sign­ing 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 – 0-8 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 as top can­di­dates.

McCon­nell said it was ob­vi­ous But­ler was un­happy in Min­nesota, but thought a change of scenery could help.

“I think him get­ting a fresh start on a team like ours will be ben­e­fi­cial to both sides. We’re look­ing for­ward to him,” the Six­ers guard said.

MARK J. TER­RILL AP

Jimmy But­ler, right, is headed to Philadel­phia via trade af­ter play­ing 69 games for Min­nesota. The 6-foot-8 swing­man has av­er­aged nearly 22 points per game since the start of the 2014-15 sea­son, when he earned his first NBA All-Star se­lec­tion.

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