Jimmy Butler going to 76ers from Minnesota
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 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.
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 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 — winless in eight games on the road.
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (23) battles for position against Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.