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Nearly two months after requesting to be sent out of town, Jimmy Butler has finally been traded.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ star swingman is headed to the Philadelphia 76ers, as Shams Charania of Stadium was the first to report.
According to Charania, the deal will send Butler and center Jason Patton to the Sixers for forwards Robert Covington and Dario Saric, point guard Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round draft pick.
Butler nearly sat Friday night's game — after intending to play — as Philadelphia deal took form. Sides finalized agreement before Minnesota flew out of Sacramento.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 10, 2018
Butler has been a thorn in Minnesota’s backside, off the floor anyway, after requesting a trade in the offseason. He skipped media day and the first several days of practice, before returning to cause a scene, sit out games and wave a towel in unison with the opposing Golden State Warriors crowd in a Timberwolves defeat.
It had even been reported that the Los Angeles Clippers — supposedly one of Butler’s preferred destinations — lost interest in trading for him after witnessing some of his antics.
The Miami Heat were supposedly Butler’s top choice, but a reported deal that seemed to come together last month fell apart at the last minute.
On the court, however, Butler has been fantastic. He remains one of the league’s top two-way players and should immediately join Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to help turn the Sixers into even more of an Eastern Conference contender.
That is contingent, of course, on Butler’s ability to get along with his younger teammates — something with which he seemed to struggle in Minnesota. Butler was reportedly frequently at odds with Timberwolves swingman Andrew Wiggins and especially, standout center Karl-Anthony Towns.
Minnesota accomplished one of the goals it set for itself in trade talks: Sending Jimmy Butler to the Eastern Conference, not to a Western rival. A deal with Philadelphia made more sense for the Timberwolves once Miami pulled Josh Richardson out of talks.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 10, 2018
Despite all this, Butler has shared a mutual admiration with Wolves president/coach Tom Thibodeau, who attempted on repeated occasions to convince Butler to have a change of heart and remain in Minnesota.
But according to an ESPN report, Thibodeau eventually came to the conclusion that the Butler drama was indeed too big of a distraction, and decided it was time to pull the trigger on a deal.
Butler, 29, is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Philadelphia was not among his reported list of preferred destinations.
Clearly, the Sixers are betting they can change that.