The Jimmy Butler saga with Minnesota Timberwolves finally came to an end on Saturday afternoon.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe, the Sixers have traded forwards Dario Saric and Robert Covington along with veteran guard Jerryd Bayless and a 2020 second-round pick to the Timberwolves for Butler and second-year big man Justin Patton.
Wojnarowski also added in his report that the Sixers and Jimmy Butler are fully expected to reach a deal on a long-term contract next summer. Philadelphia has a ton of money coming off of the books next offseason and could offer Butler a five-year max contract worth $190 million.
The 29-year-old Butler has a player option for next season worth $19 million, but will more than likely opt out. Nevertheless, this power move by new Sixers general manager Elton Brand to acquire him definitely came out of left field as no one thought that the disgruntled superstar guard would be heading to Philly.
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Instead, all signs pointed to Butler potentially going to the Houston Rockets at one point or the Miami Heat, but those trade talks reportedly broke down in the 11th-hour.
Last month, Lowe reported that Butler "had eyes" for the Sixers among his preferred trade destinations (Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Heat). However, Philadelphia, at the time, expressed no interest in trading for the two-way superstar guard.
The two teams first had conversations back in September about a trade when Butler made it clear that he did not want to be in Minnesota anymore.
During those trade conversations, the Timberwolves reportedly wanted reigning Rookie of the Year award winner Ben Simmons in exchange for Butler. The Sixers, rightfully so, ended those negotiations on the spot.
However, this trade works out for both parties involved. In regards to the Timberwolves, they get rid of a disgruntled player and in return get a young forward in Dario Saric, who can stretch the floor and a 3-and-D wing player in Covington, who will be a perfect fit in Tom Thibodeau’s system.
But when it comes to the Sixers, they finally have their star that they were searching for since summertime. It was not easy for them as Philly came up short in the both the LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes.
However, Butler will help the Sixers out immensely on both sides of the floor. Last season, the 29-year-old averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists in 36.7 minutes per game. He also shot 47.4 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range on 3.4 attempts per game.
Through 10 games this season, Butler has picked up where he left off last season, averaging 21.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in 36.1 minutes per game. He is shooting 47.1 percent from the field and an outstanding 37.8 percent from distance on 4.5 attempts per game.
Outside of the standard stats, Butler has a career offensive rating (ORtg) of 119 and defensive rating (DRtg) of 105. This means that he will give you a ton of offensive production, while also locking down whoever he is defending.
Along those same lines, the Sixers are also getting a player, who can not only create is own offense but is a threat in isolation situations. This was an issue that plagued the Sixers last season during their run to the playoffs but has also reared its ugly head in the early part of this season.
Butler was pretty good in isolation last season, averaging 2.4 points per game. While this is not a huge amount in comparison to players such as LeBron James and James Harden, it was more than what any Sixer did.
Ultimately, it should be interesting to see how the rest of this season plays out for the Sixers. If they thought that expectations were already high coming into this year, well they just got higher with the acquisition of Butler.
Jimmy Butler will give the Sixers a boost immediately, which will especially help third-year big man Joel Embiid. But there will now be more pressure on Simmons and Markelle Fultz to also become offensive playmakers to supplement the production of Covington and Saric.