76ers finally land third star with trade for Jimmy Butler

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The Philadephia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed to a trade that will send Jimmy Butler to join the Process in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, center Justin Patton, and a 2022 second-round pick.

With the move, the 76ers get a third star to pair with the already explosive pair of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and immediately give themselves a better chance to make an Eastern Conference Finals run.

Minnesota has been stuck in dysfunction for quite some time, with multiple reports of in-house fighting and confrontations leaking from their camp throughout the summer.

The asking price for Butler was at one point considered “too steep”, but weeks of continued drama and poor team performance clearly twisted the arm of the Wolves’ front office and resulted in the 76ers being able to get a bonafide star at a discount.

Dario Saric has underperformed this season and has yet to make the impact that Philly fans had hoped for after showing flashes of being an offensively versatile floor stretcher.

His 30% mark from three has made it difficult for the 76ers to get the type of shooting and floor spacing that would make Simmons and Embiid more effective.

Covington has played a little better, but the opportunity to get Butler without giving up incredible value could not have been passed up.

At best, Butler comes in with his 21 points per game average and provides an instant spark on both ends of the floor for a team that many considered to be missing just one more piece in order to legitimately compete in the East.

Jimmy Butler
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Between Butler, Simmons, and Embiid, Philly also figures to get better defensively and will now have three of the top two-way players in the league on one roster. It will be a challenge to get a bucket on this team when they are locked in.

Either way, the 76ers are undoubtedly better today than they were yesterday, as any team would be when you add a player of Jimmy Butler’s talent level to your roster.

At worst, Butler and Embiid each have strong personalities and patience will be tested if the chemistry does not click right away.

Butler has caused a media stir at every stop when there has not been team success.

He has to demonstrate an ability to be the best player on the team and inspire teammates in the right way. How will things go if the Process hits a skid? Will Butler be a help or a hindrance to the development of Markelle Fultz?

The 76ers will clearly be aiming to re-sign Butler, who will be a free agent at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 season. They will be able to offer him a five-year $190 million extension, while other teams would be able to offer four-years and a projected $141 million.

Their success for the remainder of the season will no doubt determine the direction of negotiations as a hot free agent summer approaches.

Whether the trade is an instant success or goes up in flames, the union of Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, and Joel Embiid will have the league watching.

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