The Jimmy Butler saga in Minnesota is finally over as the Wolves send the ever-disturbed guard to the Sixers to switch Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Jerryd Bayless and a second round. Justin Patton will also go to Philly in the deal.
The Butler situation was unsustainable long ago. His sparring with his team-mates in a preseason practice was weird, and the night before the deal Butler complained about his deployment in Minnesota. Philly has been on the hunt for a star for some time, and the Sixers watch has the flexibility to score another heavy hit alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Is Philly ready to be with Butler in the long term? There is much more to clarify. Let's classify the deal for each team.
76ers: B +
I'm not sure if Philly is a homerun. Covington and Saric are just the kind of role-players who can be a factor for championship teams – and the Sixers could have the cap-space to sign a star next summer, with those two guys still in the squad. Is Butler the best man in the long term to join Simmons and Embiid? We saw how quickly he turned against Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. Simmons and Embiid are much better players, but they are also in another part of their career as butlers. If Jimmy sign up again in the long run, Philly's core will be essentially fixed, and it will not feel as exciting as a few months ago, when Brett Brown listed all of the organization's assets.
• SHARP: The problem of Markelle Fultz does not go away
Flexibility is important only for so long. To bet on free agency is a risk, and the Sixers had to pay sooner or later. You will not lose the first round of the deal and keep Markelle Fultz – whatever it is worth. Trading should significantly improve the Sixers this season, and the fight between them, the Celtics and the Raptors will be incredible. (And do not forget the bucks!) Philly will be a hell of a unit in the playoffs, and Butler is a real seamstress who will support the offensive late in tight games. I'm not quite sold to Simmons, but his two-way talent outweighs those concerns.
Timberwolves: C +
Minny has given priority to winning in contrast to the future with this deal, but I do not hate this approach. Cities and wiggins have big contracts, you can not have them in your squad and be in the mindset of rebuilding / tanks. Saric and Covington can slide well into the top five and ensure a consistent game. However, this is a wake up call for Wiggins and Towns. The team is theirs now. With all the antics of Jimmy he showed that he was the best player of the three. Wiggins needs to be strengthened. Cities need to be strengthened. Otherwise, the wolves are held in a lottery team with two heavily paid players. I still do not see Tom Thibodeau as a long-term answer. He can not build a good defense or squad, and someone with a more modern approach could probably get more out of existing players.
• MAHONEY: The Timberwolves, Jimmy Butler, and the dangers of the basketball limbo
It's not a terrible trade for Minny, but the wolves are still losing a top-15 player and their future is at best murky. This was an embarrassing few months for the organization, and it does not seem that size matters very much. Good for Thibs to stay competitive at the moment; The wolves will probably regret that they ever blamed him for the basketball operations.