Timberwolves Trade Jimmy Butler To Sixers

NOVEMBER 12: The Sixers and Timberwolves have issued press releases announcing that the deal is now official.

NOVEMBER 10: The Sixers have agreed to acquire Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton for Robert Covington, Dario SaricJerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick, according to Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter links). A trade call with the league to finalize the deal has been scheduled for Monday, Charania adds (via Twitter).

Elton Brand‘s first major move as the Sixers’ general manager will allow the team to acquire a third star alongside Simmons and Embiid without having to take their chances trying to lure that sort of impact player to Philadelphia during 2019’s free agent period. It should also reduce the pressure on 2017’s first overall pick Markelle Fultz to develop into that third star.

Butler and the Sixers fully expect to reach an agreement on a long-term deal for the All-NBA swingman once he’s eligible for free agency in 2019, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Philadelphia’s plan is to have a long-term big three of Butler, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, according to Wojnarowski, who suggests (via Twitter) that only a major injury or a poor fit alongside Simmons and Embiid could diminish the Sixers’ optimism on a long-term future with Butler.

It remains to be seen how Butler will fit on and off the court in Philadelphia with the team’s two young stars after failing to make things work with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota, but the four-time All-Star should significantly increase the 76ers’ ceiling. Butler will provide play-making and shooting (.361 3PT% since 2016/17) on offense, and figures to replace Covington as the team’s primary perimeter stopper on defense. As for Patton, his NBA career has been derailed by foot injuries, and he’s unlikely to be a Sixer beyond this season.

Even if they re-sign Butler in 2019, the Sixers won’t necessarily be capped out quite yet, with Simmons still on his rookie deal. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks details, with cap holds for Butler and fellow free agent T.J. McConnell to consider, the team would have about $21MM in cap room next summer. If the 76ers want to clear enough room for another max player, trading Fultz would just about get them there, though Philadelphia’s cap sheet could get messy in that scenario, with an eventual max deal for Simmons also on the horizon.

For Minnesota, this trade will end a near two-month saga after Butler’s trade request went public. The week before training camps got underway, word broke that Butler had asked to be traded during a meeting with Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau and didn’t intend to report to camp.

When the Wolves didn’t find a trade for Butler right away, he rejoined the team, but the last five or six weeks have been rife with drama. The 29-year-old’s return to Minnesota was highlighted by a now-infamous expletive-filled rant in a preseason practice, and things hadn’t quieted down much since then. Now that the Wolves have finally resolved the situation, the team will have an opportunity to focus on a future centered around former No. 1 overall picks Towns and Wiggins.

The Timberwolves will now add Covington and Saric to that long-term core — Saric won’t be up for restricted free agency until 2020, while Covington is locked up through 2022. Both players make sense for Thibodeau, GM Scott Layden, and the Wolves, who didn’t want to take a significant step back in their roster-building process after snapping a lengthy postseason-less streak this past spring. Covington and Saric will be able to jump into the rotation immediately and should also be part of the team for years to come.

Bayless is on an expiring contract and almost certainly won’t be part of Minnesota’s future plans, as he was just included in the swap for salary-matching purposes. If the Wolves don’t plan for Bayless to have a role this season, he’ll become a buyout candidate.

Thibodeau, Layden, owner Glen Taylor, and the Timberwolves also reportedly discussed potential Butler trades with several other teams before agreeing to terms with the Sixers. The Rockets and Heat were said to be the most aggressive suitors, as Minnesota allegedly passed on a Miami offer that included Josh Richardson and a first-round pick, and also balked at a Houston offer featuring four first-round picks.

We don’t know what the protections on those Rockets’ first-rounders or the Heat first-rounder would have looked like, and the Wolves likely would have had to take on an unwanted multiyear contract in each of those proposals. Still, it will still be fascinating to see how Covington and Saric pan out in Minnesota, since we have a sense of what sort of other packages were available to the Wolves.

While Thibodeau exercised plenty of patience through the Butler saga, that patience ran out after the Timberwolves concluded their 0-5 road trip on Friday, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). League sources told Wojnarowski that Thibodeau came to the realization Minnesota couldn’t win with Butler in such a dysfunctional environment, and told associates that the team wouldn’t play another game with Butler.

Wojnarowski and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst also report (via Twitter) that team ownership was “heavily involved” on both sides of the negotiations, with Taylor and Josh Harris of the Sixers working closely with management to finalize a deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this post.

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120 thoughts on “Timberwolves Trade Jimmy Butler To Sixers

    • Chris

      Yeah 2 young guys that can contribute immediately and seem to be able to fit into thibs scheme. Still Wolves no longer a playoff team

    • Ironmonger835

      Covington is 28… Not really young. Should’ve kept Lavine, Markkanen and Dunn…

      • rdsfan05

        To be fair when they traded that package markkanen was still in college and just another name and Lavine and Dunn weren’t the guys they are now but I agree

        • Chris

          Lavine can score but is such a defensive liability. Still not convinced on Dunn

        • east333

          So you didn’t mind the trades at the time but now that hindsight is 20/20 you think they shouldn’t have gone thru with them? Lol

  1. dorfmac

    I don’t like this, but I’ll admit I don’t know enough about the NBA to be sure.

    Just seems like a lot of value (present and future) for a malcontent that will be gone after this season.

    Am I right or wrong?

      • dorfmac

        Im just not sure if I’m too bullish on Saric and that’s clouding me. Big fan.

        I am pleased they kept Fultz, he can only get better and I think he will.

    • LordBanana

      Expected to sign an max deal, that’s why he wanted a trade to begin with. Sixers now have three top 30 NBA players for the foreseeable future.

      • dorfmac

        I knew he wanted max deal, but assumed he just wanted out of MN in the short term and would sign the deal later with any team he wanted.

        I forgot that NBA, deals are more if you stick with the team you’re on. Makes sense he’d sign with whoever he was traded to.

      • imindless

        Ben simmons isnt top 30 lol dude cant shoot and has taken regression to all stats on oar with lonzo ball whos considered a bust but can shoot and play lock down d.

    • justinept

      why would he walk? the biggest reason he seemed to want the trade is so he could get a max contract from the new team…

    • Chris

      Completely wrong. Philadelphia wasn’t good enough to compete for the East before this deal. Now they have a big 3 as good as anyone. Jimmy’s being a malcontent was due to organizational decisions in Minnesota (giving Wiggins a max deal when he’s not a max player). Philly doesn’t make this deal without wanting to extend him and the pieces they gave up while good aren’t jimmy butler

    • yoyo137

      I disagree that they gave up too much. They get rid of the Bayless contract and don’t have to give up a 1st. Jimmy is a huge upgrade over Covington. And Saric is a very good but inconsistent player. 76ers needed to change something because the roster wasn’t working as it was constructed. If Jimmy leaves, of course they gave up too much. But if he signs an extension, I think it’s a steal for the 76ers. Spurs got DeRozan AND a 1st for Kawhi. Saric and a 2nd isn’t nearly that valuable.

      • formerlyz

        As an asset, DeRozan wasnt a good get by the Spurs. They’ve made him 5x better, but that isnt part of the trade value. Spurs were taking a bad contract. If anything, I’d say this is a similar return. I thought Minnesota stole him last year, and they pretty much only got a little less from Philly for 1 less year. I think it’s a steal for Philly, but not terrible for Minnesota, considering where his value could have been with all the variables involved

        • bigguccisosa300

          Raps fan here telling you he’s always been amazing in the regular season

          • formerlyz

            Look at his numbers. He hasnt ever been even close to as good as he has been this year

            • bigguccisosa300

              Idgaf about his numbers I’ve watched him play for years he’s the same dude lol.

            • bigguccisosa300

              If you wanna go numbers then of course you’d expect him to have better numbers on that spurs team , infinitely more options on the raptors the past few years

        • bigguccisosa300

          DeRozan for Kawhi is not a similar trade at all man you are talkin crazy my friend

    • svtcobra979896

      Philly had to make a move. Now they have a big 3 and they have a good chance to sign him after the season. philly can offer him 50 million more than any other team. now they just need to find a shooter or 2 and they’ll be real dangerous.

    • Chris

      It’s a good deal for the wolves but you rarely lose a top 25 nba player and get better. I don’t see them in the playoffs now

    • adkuchan

      Your team got the best player in the deal. More often than not, that’s a good thing

  2. About damn time. I wish we could have gotten Fultz instead of saric, but either way I’m happy.

  3. Thibs could have gotten a better pick than a 2022 second rounder out of the Sixers. He just doesn’t care about the draft at all

    • Thibs could have held out for another second rounder or two to help pawn Diengs contract off.

    • adkuchan

      He’s trying to keep his job. A pick in 4 years isn’t going to help him much in that quest.

  4. justinkm19

    Covington and Saric are role players. I think the deal is weak for the Wolves.

  5. justin-turner overdrive

    and so ends the weirdest 10 games we’ve ever had to watch from a guy who was being forced to play at a high level for a team he absolutely hated, lol

  6. Bryzzo2016

    WOW! I thought Minny really screwed themselves when they gave up Dunn/Lavine/Markannen and cap space for Butler and his diva headaches.

    I never thought they’d get a package like this for him when he demanded a trade. Saric and Covington are underrated pieces. Especially Covington, Thibs will love his style of play.

    A gamble for Philly, not sure I like this. I doubt he’ll sign an extension with them… or anyone. Jimmy has never been a FA and made it clear he wants to experience that process.

    • Ironmonger835

      Covington is an overpriced role player. Why does everyone think he’s some kind of star?

      • Bryzzo2016

        Definitely not a star, but a defensive wing that can take pressure of Wiggins. The Wolves need a 3 and D type, that’s why I like the Covington addition. Not KAT and Wiggins can realize their potential without the Butler distraction.

        • sleepyfloyd

          Only way now Wolves certainly improve moving forward is trade Wiggins at some point. Dude is a liability defensively and doesn’t do much else great to say he’ll develop further.

        • Covington is really not that good. Clearly you haven’t watched him much. He’s a streaky 3 pt shooter that does little else.

    • justin-turner overdrive

      “I doubt he’ll sign an extension with them… or anyone. Jimmy has never been a FA and made it clear he wants to experience that process.”

      So you’re saying Woj is wrong? Uhh…

      • Bryzzo2016

        Haha, I know… it’s almost blasphemy to even suggest that Woj could be wrong. Though, in his defense, he didn’t say Butler WILL sign an extension, he said Philly is hopeful that he will. Too very different narratives.

        • justin-turner overdrive

          Very true, just jokin around, when read in the full context of the quote, its very clear its the 76ers who want it, nothing from JB’s side.

    • Christopher Guzman

      Biggest issue with Cov was that he’d start a season relatively hot then cool off, can’t finish at the rim (missed easy layups ) and although a good team defense guy he’s not a great 1 on 1 defender. Saric will be missed, he seems to get better as the season goes on after slow starts. Solid player, always puts forth good effort.

    • adkuchan

      Why wouldn’t he sign an extension with them? They are a good team, in a good market, and they can pay him more than anyone else.
      Sizers wouldnt make this move unless they believe he is staying put.

  7. formerlyz

    Yooooooo wow…wondering if Simmons will play more at the 4 when Chandler isnt in the game. I feel like they lost some important spacing, and Covington is really good on defense, but Butler makes up for that end, and isnt a bad shooter. I do wonder about them potentially becoming isolation based, and I dont want to see them take touches away from Embiid. I think Simmons needs to make the biggest adjustment for now. Definitely interested to see where this goes

    Also, this shows my Heat offer of James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Dion Waiters, and 2019 first round pick for Butler and Dieng would have been in the ballpark…Heat fans will likely be salty they missed out, but this team still isn’t healthy, so there is still more upside to be seen. Also, they should still be set up to potentially make deals in the offseason, with expiring deals

    • formerlyz

      …Not terrible for Minnesota. They didnt give up much more than that when they originally stole him from the Bulls. Covington gives them defense on the wing without needing the ball, and they added important shooting they needed. They still need a lot more from KAT and Wiggins though

    • MiddleIn

      Please stop saying Cov is good defensively. One on one D is horrible. He doesn’t pass. Doesn’t rebound. Can’t finish.

      • formerlyz

        He has been at the top of the league in deflections the last couple of years, and gets to a lot of loose balls. I would agree he isnt as good one on one, but I wouldnt consider him to be terrible. He does have some foul tendencies, but he generally does his job

  8. darquee

    Makes the Bulls return of Lavine, Dunn, and Markannen look even better than it already was.

    • justin-turner overdrive

      lol those 3 like, fit the Wolves perfectly right now too. They really screwed themselves with trades when they just needed to stand pat.

  9. Loren Polonsky

    Not sure how this helps the Sixers all that much. They are still desperate to spread the floor and get an additional shooter or two. Are they top 3 in the east? I don’t think quite yet?

    • justin-turner overdrive

      I’d expect them to make another move, but if they don’t damn, that’s a thin bench.

      • dust44

        I’m not sure about thin. Less experienced. Bolden is going to b a solid player and Shamet is coming along. Still have JJ off the bench and TJ. Muscala is giving them solid minutes to spell Embiid. The real question is who steps into the rotation and grabs ahold of a role.

    • yoyo137

      Wilson Chandler is healthy again, which no doubt in my mind played a part in them trading both Covington and Saric.

      • cba93

        Wilson chandler is a decent player but in the raptures and celtics are so much deeper there’s no way they can compete in 7 game set. If they can land legit rotation pieces from buyouts like last year they’ll be fine but trading for korver/jr wont push the needle

  10. Anyone else feel like Embiid and Simmons aren’t going to be as easy to bully as KAT and Wiggins? If Jimmy comes in trying to run the show this could get yucky.

    • stubby66

      I totally agree I get this looks good on paper but there are plenty of teams that had a great 3 and they couldn’t win all through the history of the NBA I reserve the right to wait and see but think the ego of Butler just isnt going to let it work

    • adkuchan

      Simmons and Embiid play defense… well. What drives Jimmy crazy is guys who don’t defend.

      • JD396

        What drives Jimmy crazy more than that is guys who don’t bow down before him.

  11. Dionis

    Great trade for both sides, the effect of Brand in Philly is making a difference. They needed Jimmy Butler to have a second option behind Embiid, great trade by Philadelphia.

    As for Minnesota, they got themselves an All-NBA defender in Robert and Saric fits in perfectly alongside Towns. I love this trade for both sides so long Philly can sign Butler long-term. I am super excited to watch both teams now!

  12. cba93

    Might be time to move fultz.. jimmy is a potential rental and he’s their best trade chip/not nba ready yet. Maybe they could work out a deal with the Suns for Ariza and Jackson

  13. dust44

    This is a huge win for Philly. If Butler is in a good state of mind about playing with 2 good young guys again. Granted Simmons and Embiid r way better the KAT and Wiggins

  14. jehendri

    Didn’t Houston offer like 4 1st round picks? Sounds like a better deal than a couple 12 point per game guys and a couple bench riders. Oh and a second round pick.

    • mpaoword

      None of those picks would have been in consecutive years and the first available picks would’ve come with the Rockets still competitive meaning they wouldn’t have been lottery picks. By the time those picks might be lottery picks (barring any protections) they wouldn’t have coincided with the current Wolves core so while the idea of acquiring future assets seems appealing, given the state of the franchise and the aim to compete with Towns and Wiggins as the cornerstones of the franchise four 1st round picks don’t make sense.

      Getting a 3-and-D replacement for Butler in Covington and a true stretch four in Saric is a huge boost for the Wolves. The star impact may not be there, but the Wolves are a better team with this package.

    • hiflew

      So you would have been happier with 4 mid to late first rounders that would have probably ended up being about like Justin Patton? Yes, you can strike gold in the mid to late first round, but more often than not you get roster filler.

  15. mpaoword

    The Sixers get their star player, but I don’t like the trade overall for Philadelphia. They’ve got no depth with the additional news that Zhaire Smith is out for the rest of the year, plus another dead roster spot with Justin Patton thrown into the deal (also out for the year or most of it). Saric and Covington out Chandler (on a minutes restriction for the time being) will likely be bumped up as a small-ball four with Korkmaz getting more minutes at the three. Beyond Chandler the bigs behind Embiid are just Mike Muscala and Amir Johnson. The Sixers don’t have enough spacing to survive Embiid being off the court for significant minutes, or worse yet a significant injury, and that’s especially true if Brett Brown continues to commit to a Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz non-shooting back court

    • formerlyz

      Simmons probably plays more 4 now when Chandler isnt in the game. I could also see them using Amir Johnson at the 4 in certain lineups when Muscala is in the game

  16. Thronson5

    Good trade all the way around. Big blow to Houston who was trying hard to trade for Butler and I really think they needed him. Sixers are going all in, this could really help push them in the East and the Wolves made out as well. I think the Wolves night have been able to get more but overall was still a good trade for them.

  17. I think I like this. The Sixers were woefully ineffective as was, and now I hope this means they start Simmons at the 4 – Shamet, Reddick, Butler, Simmons, Embiid is pretty good.
    McConnell, Fultz, Korkmaz, Chandler/Bolden, Muscala/Johnson off the bench.
    I think Fultz and Simmons should be a combo avoided as much as possible, unless they go small with Simmons at the 5.
    I’d still like them to add Korver if he becomes available.

  18. oriolesravenstimberwolves04

    Hated the Butler trade from the beginning. I liked the Rockets offer more but I’m just happy it’s over. The butler saga had to end

    • JD396

      It was good in concept, I thought. I bet Thibs thought he could wrangle Butler’s ego (with his own ego). But that didn’t happen.

      • oriolesravenstimberwolves04

        I completely disagree. The timeline made absolutely no sense whatsoever. This team was never going to compete with the warriors. Wolves fans new that Lavine could become what he is today. This team would have had a very large championship window from 21’ on. The trade hindered Wiggins development and gave up what will become 2 all stars(at some point) and a strong role player. There offense would have been fun this year. Markannan and Lavine would provide the floor spacing to keep Wiggins effective. Wolves would also have Bridges (either one) or maybe Shai Alexander with a late lottery pick in 2018. Sad to see this get thrown away for a team that would lose in TE first round. SUCH A WASTE. The timeline never once made any sense

        • JD396

          Not really disagreeing with any of that.

          But, hypothetical. Wolves make the trade, and instead of Butler they get parallel universe Butler. He provides star level performance on the court and is a constructive presence in the locker room. Rising tide lifts all boats, KAT and Wiggins up their game… Wolves face the Rockets, score 4 more points in the first game, confidence gets lit off, and who knows. Maybe they go get killed by GSW like the other 28 basketball teams but, the team sees they can really play with the big boys and didn’t make the playoffs merely because the division was flat and mediocre. Team is no longer one of the five worst attended teams in the league because fans see management willing to make a ballsy costly move.

          That, of course, didn’t happen. Well, the attendance did go up a bit last season.

          • x%sure

            It would have worked if they had offered Wiggins what he was worth (say, 5/75) and left room for a 5/190 Butler. Instead they gave the big contract to Wiggins.

  19. DynamiteAdams

    An all star for 3 career role players and a second rounder lets go!

  20. ErnestoFigueroa87

    Stupid stupid stupid by the 76’ers!

    Great move by the Timberwolves!

    He’s not worth more than a bag of garbage.

    • That’s what the 76’ers gave up, a bag of garbage. Those are role players that are a dime a dozen.

  21. paladin

    After watching 76ers eek out a win over CHA last night it was more tan apparent they need something on both offensive side as well as defensive side of ball. Covington is over rated on defense. He made a couple bonehead plays while faux guarding Kemba W and he single handily kept Cha in the game by commiting stupid fouls. Saric is a good player but slow and really just a solid bench player so Philly got the best deal even if Jimmy leaves. Problem with Philly is they play like a group of guys just thrown together and dont look like much team basketball is going on out there especially with their lack of pick n roll defense, it doesn’t exist. When Jimmy gets hurt or needs a general soreness day off this team will suffer and it will gradually fade to middle or back of the pack in the East.

  22. All this media Bull! Saying Butler wanted to go to the knicks nets clippers! Wrong again! Good job 76ers.

    • paladin

      Of course, you knew better. What is your next prediction Mr. Anti-Media Bull? Give us some Truth….We are waiting….

      • Seriously, who would like to go to NY/Brooklyn? Philly is just now better than Knicks/Nets have ever been or will ever be… as simple as my friend.

  23. Minn got good value considering their situation.
    Not the sure the pieces fit perfectly, but that will be easier to address with their new assets in hand.

    Philly gets an elite player, and gets rid of the match up and spacing issues created by Simmons and Saric playing together (with Embid or another big). Covington is a loss.

  24. Does Patton have a deal in his contract that he must follow Butler where ever he goes?

  25. scrapthenickname

    As a Wolves fan I really really got tired of watching Butler. He can be brilliant and awful from play to play. Presumably he’ll step up his game once he’s in new surroundings. Good riddance.

    • JD396

      Fortunately for Butler, he’s good at bouncing a basketball around, otherwise he’d be so dragged down by his juvenile antics that nobody would ever want him on their roster.

  26. Well it’s a start. Got one out three players, I thought they should get. Missing Fultz and a 1st rd. Now let the fire sale begin… We have 4 out 5 starters Okogie sg Wiggins sf Saric pf Towns C. Let’s see what we can get for the rest pf our roster…Who wants teague, gibson, covington, bayless, jones, rose?

    • I like it, but I would start Covington and keep Okogie as a 6th man. I think RoCo would fit better with the starters and Okogie would be more comfortable doing more than spot up jumpers.

      Also, you don’t like Tyus as a backup pg?

      • Nope. And since he has some value, let’s try something new and sell high.

  27. This is going to be an interesting chemistry experiment— the brash, volatile alpha Embiid + the brasher, more volatile alpha Jimmy.

  28. 1988wasalongtimeago

    Does Smith’s health and being out for the season make the trade happen?

  29. That’s a terrible return for the Wolves. They should have taken Houston’s draft picks. They’re not making the playoffs this year anyway.

  30. nentwigs

    Wolves could trade the waterboy for LeBron and STILL come out on the short end. This franchise IS snakebit. Poor history of ownership and management from their beginnings (remember Pooh Richardson?) and it continues, no matter who the owner hires as GM and Head Coach. To review the team’s list of drafts and trades is more laughable than The Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy and Abbott & Costello bits.

  31. stevep-4

    I think Minnesota deals Dieng and that pick to Chicago for Lopez or Cleveland for Tristan Thompson, just to get some rebounding in the mix. They might surprise some people, I like Saric’s skill set on that team and Covington is solid – definitely a Thibs-style player.

  32. This is basically Dario for Butler. RoCo is an average 3-pt shooter, and a terrible on the ball defender. This, I’ve gotta say was a great move b/c while I love Dario, and it is going to be very hard to find a legitimate grind it out stretch-4 which is he was – like a pest that can shoot 3s, it was going to be difficult to figure out what you’d pay him.

  33. Jayhawks34

    Philly can use their trade exception to get one more piece, similar to what they did last year with Bellini and Ilyasova.
    Wolves were better off with the higher ceiling Richardson, but Saric is solid and cheap.

  34. Ptn18

    Thibs called New Orleans and asked for Jrue Holiday before they sent Butler to Philadelphia. New Orleans said no. Now that’s funny.

  35. nentwigs

    A 2022 Second Round Pick?? It will take the Timberpuppies at least until then to realize that there are indeed 2nd round picks in the NBA Draft and to figure out what in the hell to do with a 2nd round pick. Based on team history it will be either: traded away for little or nothing to a team that will use it to add a useable player OR if retained, to select some slug who will NEVER see any NBA minutes whose rights will be held for perpituity or who will quietly, unceremoniously, be released.

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