REPORT: Butler traded to the Sixers for Covington, Saric

Finally! Months after he first requested for a trade, the Jimmy Butler Saga in Minnesota comes to an end.

Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported today that the Philadelphia 76ers and the Minnesota Timberwolves have come to an agreement for the All-Star.

The Timberwolves will send Butler and their first pick in last year’s draft, Justin Patton to the 76ers in exchange for starters Robert Covington, Dario Saric and a second round pick. Jerryd Bayless was also included in the proposed package.

Butler’s time in Minnesota had a rough ending. After helping the team get back to the Playoffs last year, he decided that Minnesota wasn’t the right situation for him and publicly demanded a trade. That set off a bizarre string of events leading up to the trade today.

There was the infamous practice in the offseason, Butler’s first activity with the team since his trade request. He reportedly screamed at coach Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden, “You can’t win without me.” He also led the third stringers to beat the starters and shut down Karl-Anthony Towns in the post.

Butler ended playing for the Timberwolves this season. He reportedly had a plan to get out of Minnesota and it included deciding when he would rest and when he would play.

His final act as a member of the team was a strongly-worded interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic. That interview had this prized exchange:

Amick: You played 41 minutes tonight…

Butler: That shit has to stop.

Amick: Why?

Butler: We’ve got fucking 14 other guys.

Despite all of this, Butler is still one of the best players in the league. At his best, he’s a two-way force that can shut down almost anyone on the opposing team and take over games with his relentless scoring ability.

It hasn’t been the ideal start for Philadelphia this season so bringing in Butler could change the momentum of the team. The Sixers are finally getting that third star to join their young superstars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Landing Butler could mean that this is the end of “The Process” that was started during the time of Sam Hinkie.

The Sixers are confident that they will be able to re-sign Butler to a long term deal in the summer.

As for the Timberwolves, they finally realized that they couldn’t operate a team with someone as vocal and as unhappy as Butler playing such a big role. That was finally evident when they went 0-5 in their recent road trip.

After stalled talks with the Miami Heat and the Houston Rockets, the Timberwolves made a quick move by getting two starters from the Sixers.

Robert Covington was a member of last year’s All-Defensive Team. He will bring the same defensive intensity as Butler in the wings. He also provides Minnesota with additional outside shooting. Dario Saric was the third string in the Sixers. But he was a beast for the team in 2016 when Simmons wasn’t playing and Embiid was shut down. He fits nicely with another talented offensive big man in Towns.

The trade is not official as the two teams will finalize the deal by Monday (Tuesday, Philippine time).

Photo from USA Today Sports