So, that happened.
It’s been around 2 days since the trade happened. As a Timberwolves fan, I honestly couldn’t wait any longer for Butler to get traded. If you didn’t know, Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton were sent to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, and a 2nd round pick. Who won the trade? Let’s take a closer look.
It is very hard to pinpoint who exactly has won the trade, since the players haven’t even played a single game for the team. A majority of NBA fans believed that the Thunder robbed the Pacers in their trade, only for Oladipo and Sabonis to play extremely well over the past two years. A majority of NBA fans also believed that the Timberwolves won trade that sent Butler to Minnesota in the first place, only for Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markannen to blossom into young stars. So yeah, it’s hard, but we’re trying anyway.
Incoming: Robert Covington (SF), Dario Saric (PF), Jerryd Bayless (PG), 2nd Round Pick
Can I just say how happy I am with this trade?
The Timberwolves managed to basically trade Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markannen for Robert Covington and Dario Saric. While I’d much rather have the Bulls young core, this is a surprisingly good return for a disgruntled star.
Robert Covington is one of the most elite 3-and-D guys in the league. His versatility allows him to play multiple positions, which should prove extremely useful for the team. The Timberwolves have long been in need of three point shooting and defense, which just so happens to be Covington’s strengths. In addition, he is a pretty good rebounder for his position which should help the Timberwolves and their rebounding woes. Despite his tendency to take bad shots, he’s been averaging 11.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.8 spg and 1.8 bpg on 39% from the three point line. He should contribute for the Timberwolves starting from day 1.
Dario Saric has been putting up worse numbers this season, so he may be looking to bounce back. After averaging 14.6 ppg last year on 45% shooting, he’s only been averaging 11.1 ppg on 36% shooting, in addition to 6.6 rpg and 2.0 apg. Super Dario is a great passer for his position, and is still a perimeter threat despite his bad shooting season so far. He’s only 24 years old, matching up his timeline well with the Wolves young core of KAT and Wiggins. It is unknown right now if he will start over Taj Gibson, but his three point shooting alone would make him a great fit alongside KAT in the frontcourt.
Jerryd Bayless was probably included as a salary filler, but despite playing in only 39 games last season, Bayless can still be a good backup PG. Unfortunately, he is currently recovering from an injury, and also finds himself on a already congested Wolves backcourt. With starting-caliber guards Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose, along with Tyus Jones, rookie Josh Okogie and Andrew Wiggins most likely moving over to the 2-guard spot, it will be hard for Bayless to get his minutes.
Was this the best deal they could’ve gotten? The Timberwolves could’ve pulled the trigger on the Heat’s Josh Richardson a few months ago, but he was pulled out after an impressive start to the season. In my opinion, this was the best deal offered to them, as it was reported that the Pelicans offered Nikola Mirotic and a first round pick and the Rockets had offered Eric Gordon and 2 first round picks (or that reported 4 first round picks deal).
Overall, this was by no means a great trade, but this was perhaps the best deal that they could’ve done before Butler’s value went any lower.
Incoming: Jimmy Butler (SF), Justin Patton (C)
I started out the first part of the article by saying how happy I was with the return the Wolves got for Jimmy. Sixers fans must be happy as well.
The Philadelphia 76ers just got their 3rd and final piece to their All-Star caliber Big 3. A trio of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler should give them enough firepower based on talent alone to make a deep playoff run, if they weren’t going to be able to beforehand. The Sixers traded two above average starters in Saric and Covington (along with Bayless and a 2nd) in exchange for one, extremely hard-working, yet controversial star and a young, unproven big man with potential.
The Jimmy Butler saga is finally over. After sitting out a couple of Timberwolves games due to general soreness and precautionary rest among other reasons, and after allegedly beating the TWolves starters with the third-stringers, and after repeatedly calling out his team’s lack of intensity and effort, he’s finally been traded. In addition, it has been reported that Jimmy will actually sign an extension with the Sixers when he becomes a free agent.
Now, this trade is a very high-risk, high-reward trade. On one hand, the Sixers could perfectly mesh well with one of the best two-way players in the league. So far, Butler has been averaging 21.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.3 apg, 2.4 spg and 1.0 bpg. Last season, he was a member of the All-Star team, and made the All-NBA Third Team and the All-Defense Second Team. He also brings the Sixers team some playoff experience and leadership. If this trade works out well for the Sixers, they could eventually see themselves in the Finals by the end of the playoffs.
I mentioned that this trade was very high-risk, and here’s why. Jimmy Butler is an incredibly hardworking player, as seen from his stint with the Timberwolves. He cares about winning and will do anything it takes to achieve it. This may cause some issues in the Sixers locker room, similar to how it did for the TWolves. In addition, while Butler has been shooting 37.8% from deep this season, the Sixers gave up two of their best perimeter shooters in Covington and Saric. Assuming the Sixers run a lineup of Fultz-Redick-Butler-Simmons-Embiid, that would leave only 1 good shooter, 2 decent shooters and 2 non-threats from beyond the arc. Assuming the worst, this team would still be a playoff team, but would not have the chemistry and overall fit needed to take down Eastern Conference powerhouses such as the Raptors, Celtics and Bucks.
This Wolves big man recently got his team option declined by the team, which means that he will become a free agent next offseason. He hasn’t really received a ton of playing time so far (as he’s only played 1 game so far), but has really shown off during his time in the G-League. He seems to have potential as a promising backup center for the Sixers, though he would need to stay healthy in order to see what he can do.
Do I think the Sixers won the trade? It depends. Assuming Jimmy fits in well, then for sure. If he doesn’t, then the Wolves win.
Who do you guys think won the trade? Comment down below.