Jimmy Butler’s tenure in Minnesota ended Monday afternoon when the league offices reviewed and accepted a trade that has Butler heading to Philadelphia.
Butler was introduced by the 76ers on Tuesday and debuted with his new club Wednesday in a loss to Orlando, where he debuted scoring 14 points for his new team.
The overall trade is seen as a win for both teams as they both can look past this rough patch for the franchise and the player.
The deal gives Philadelphia a legitimate big three, with Butler joining All-Star forward Joel Embiid and reigning Rookie of the Year, Ben Simmons, on a team that already was expected to be a major Eastern Conference contender this season.
Butler now returns to the Eastern Conference where he has played for most of his career when he played for the Chicago Bulls.
Elton Brand, a former 76er, is now the GM of the franchise. He thought the team needed to make a move to compete right now, he said, “We have a championship window that’s centered around the continued progression of our talented young core, as well as our ability to add elite players who elevate our program.”
Brand also said, “In Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, we have two of the NBA’s top 20 players. Now, we’ve added a third top 20 player in Jimmy Butler, who is one of the NBA’s very best on both ends of the floor.”
The Wolves received some spacing on the court as they acquired Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Jerryd Bayless, and a 2022 2nd round pick in the trade. The Wolves will have some adjustments to the starting lineup as they will need to fill the void left by Butler on the court.
The trade also will outlie their plans to build for the future around Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Towns and Wiggins got the big contracts that in a way started the feud between Butler and the Wolves front office. Towns did have a comment on his former teammate he said
“He’s one hell of a player,” Towns said Sunday. “I don’t know how many Jimmy Butlers there are in the world, so I think he’ll be missed.”
Towns had spent much of the two months following Butler’s trade request shooting down speculation that there was any friction between the two All-Stars. They didn’t work well together on the court which was evident nearly a month into the season.
In Towns’ second season in the league the last full season he played without Butler the center averaged 25.1 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. Through nine games with Butler this season, Towns’ numbers plummeted to 15.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.
Towns role as the solidified option, now that Butler is gone, will in many ways impact the outlook for the team for the entire season.
The team now hopes to see the additions of Covington, Saric, and Bayless will provide a valid return for Butler, now hoping to resurrect their season without him.
Feature photo courtesy of the Associated Press.