It finally happened. The Minnesota Timberwolves have traded Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers to put one of the most turbulent player sagas of the season behind them. The trade was outlined on Twitter by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.
On the surface, it looks like Philadelphia made out pretty well in this deal. There’s no guarantee that Dario Saric is destined for stardom, and Butler’s defensive and shooting abilities more than make up for what Robert Covington provided. Minnesota did get rid of an incredibly damaging presence in their locker room, which should theoretically mean Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins will start to improve, but that team’s talent level has now dipped a fair amount.
The risk of Butler’s temperament now falls on Philadelphia, whose young stars include a future all-NBA talent in Ben Simmons, and an experienced shit-talker in Joel Embiid. Those two might be well-positioned to deal with whatever Butler throws their way. But the young roster also unfortunately includes the broken Markelle Fultz, whose shooting form and generally disappointing playing style might force Butler to hit a level of chemistry-destroying anger that no franchise has ever seen. Regardless, the all-star’s presence means the Sixers have a new ceiling of expectations for the season, and that the race to win the Eastern Conference has become even more competitive.
For those wondering, the Wolves take on the Sixers for the first time this season on Jan. 15. So that should be fun.