The trade is done. As of Monday afternoon, Jimmy Butler is now a member of the 76ers.
Following a nearly two-month ordeal full of odd reports and rumors, the Timberwolves agreed to send Butler and Justin Patton to the Sixers in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick.
The last straw was a five-game road trip that ended with a 121-110 loss to the Kings in which Butler scored only 13 points in 41 minutes. The defeat in Sacramento prompted Wolves president of basketball operations and head coach Tom Thibodeau to finally pull the plug on the failing Butler experiment.
TRADE GRADES: 76ers take calculated risk with Butler deal
Despite Butler's antics and the dysfunction surrounding the organization, Minnesota still had multiple offers for Butler on the table before ultimately completing a deal with the Sixers.
The Pelicans and Rockets were also involved in serious trade talks with the Timberwolves over the last week, according to The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania.
Minnesota begins to engage seriously with Philadelphia, New Orleans and Houston. New Orleans’ package is headlined by Nikola Mirotic and an unprotected first-round draft pick and the Rockets’ proposal has Eric Gordon, Nene and two first-round picks, sources said. The 76ers come with their proposal around Robert Covington and Dario Saric, leaving the Timberwolves to deliberate.
Mirotic is a solid role player and has proven to be a nice fit next to Pelicans star Anthony Davis, but the first-round pick probably didn't move the needle considering the Wolves didn't think much about the Rockets offering four first-rounders in one of their packages. Gordon and Nene are veterans without much upside compared to Covington and Saric, and the same issue arises with draft picks.
Looking at the big picture through the eyes of Thibodeau and Minnesota general manager Scott Layden, it's easy to understand why they passed on the offers from New Orleans and Houston. Thibodeau wanted players who could contribute now and help Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins rack up wins, not future picks that could land in the 20-30 range.
The Heat and Wizards also jumped into the conversation, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, but both teams were unwilling relinquish major pieces.
Minnesota passed on a Miami deal weeks ago that would've included guard Josh Richardson, and the Heat never returned him into talks, sources said. Washington wouldn't offer guard Bradley Beal, sources said.
It's possible passing on Richardson could be a major regret if the 25-year-old guard turns into an All-Star. The Timberwolves could have been looking to increase their asking price only to see the strategy backfire.
Covington and Saric are nice additions, though, and removing the dark cloud of Butler's trade request from the locker room needed to happen as soon as possible. None of this was handled well, but it's over.
"We thought we had a few offers that were good," Thibodeau said prior to Monday night's game against the Nets (via ESPN's Malika Andrews). "Once we got the offers to the point where we felt good about what the offers were, we thought this was the best one for us, and so we executed it."