Two days after the Jimmy Butler trade lit up the internet, the deal is finally official.
Not long after Monday’s morning shootaround at Target Center ended, not long after coach (and president of basketball operations) Tom Thibodeau said he couldn’t talk about the trade yet, that trade was finalized.
As previously reported, it's Butler to Philly for Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Jerryd Bayless. Covington will wear 6, Bayless 8 and Saric 36.
Philadelphia also gets the Wolves' top pick last year, injured forward Justin Patton, and the Wolves get a second round pick in 2022.
Thibodeau will talk about the trade prior to tonight’s game with Brooklyn at Target Center. The new players, however, will not play tonight; the team recently put out an amended injury report stating they were not available tonight.
Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson talked about the trade yesterday. There was an air of a fresh start.
On Monday reserve forward Anthony Tolliver spoke about a cloud being lifted from over the team’s head. Even Tyus Jones, who had a very strong relationship with Butler, allowed as the Butler saga might have been a distraction to the team. “I think a little bit,’’ Jones said. “Without thinking about it, or noticing, it probably did a little bit.’’
Here are some notes combining the reactions from yesterday and today, as we await word on whether Covington and Saric will be in uniform tonight. (Bayless is recovering from an injury).
Tolliver: “From a moving-on standpoint, I guess it’s definitely a good thing. Guys can get the cloud out from over our heads and go out and play basketball.’’
Tolliver said the situation did wear on the team. “Whenever you’re struggling and you have adversity going on, it just kind of doubles the weight,’’ he said. “Having the ability to move on from that, whatever it looks like with the new guys or whatever, at least we know what we got.’’
The fact that it’s still early in the season is a plus, Tolliver said.
On Sunday, Karl-Anthony Towns took issue with the idea that, with Butler gone, he had to become the team’s leader.
“First of all, I’m not one of the most important [players on the team],’’ he said. “I’m just a piece on this team. Everyone is just as important as the next. So if everyone’s doing their job and everyone is working hard, doing the little things, we make a great product. That’s first. And second, we just have to come together. We’re not doing well on defense so far this year, and we have to clean that up.’’
Tolliver politely appeared to beg to differ. To him, Towns and Wiggins are leaders.
“What really matters is those guys understanding the responsibility of being max players,’’ Toliver said. “Being depended on every single night to bring a certain level of consistency. I think that both of them are very young. But it’s up to all of us around them to continue to bring them along on the consistency side, and on the responsibility side.
And on Towns in particular? “He’s our best player,’’ Tolliver said. “There is a certain responsibility that comes with contracts you get and also being very talented. People expect it every night, even though sometimes it might not be fair. But they expect him to get 30 and 20. And if he doesn’t, it’s not as good a night as they wish he could have had. That’s a part of this game, part of this league. So, whenever you sign those types of contracts, and you’re a part of a team and they’re building around you, you gotta bring it.’’
One other note: Both Wiggins (thigh bruise) and Jeff Teague (knee) took part in the morning shoot and are both listed as questionable for tonight.
Here is the Timberwolves' release announcing the trade:
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has acquired forward Robert Covington, forward Dario Šarić (DAH-ree-oh SHAH-ritch), guard Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round draft pick from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for forward Jimmy Butler and center Justin Patton.
Covington, 27, has appeared in 304 career games (258 starts) with Houston and Philadelphia, recording averages of 12.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists while shooting 35.9 percent from the three-point line. Covington was named to the 2017-18 All-Defensive First Team after recording a career-best 315 deflections and a defensive rating of 99.0, which led all NBA forwards that played at least 30.0 minutes per game. He also finished ninth in the NBA in steals per game in 2017-18 at 1.7 steals per contest. Covington has made at least 137 three-pointers in each of the last four seasons, including a single-season career-best 203 (11th-most in the NBA) in 2017-18, which stands as the second-most in a single season by a 76ers player.
Through 13 games this season, all starts, Covington is averaging 11.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and a career-best 1.8 blocks while making 2.3 three-pointers per game on a career-best 39.0 percent from long range. The Bellwood, Illinois native signed with Philadelphia on November 15, 2014.
Šarić, 24, has appeared in 172 career games (122 starts), all with Philadelphia, posting averages of 13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists. The 6-10 forward was named to the 2016-17 All-Rookie First Team after putting up averages of 12.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 81 games. Originally from Sibenik, Croatia, Šarić improved his scoring, rebounding, assist and shooting numbers in 2017-18 when he averaged 14.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists on 45.3 percent shooting from the floor including a 39.3 percent mark from downtown. He made 157 three-pointers that campaign, the most in the NBA that season by a player 6-10 or taller.
Through 13 games this season, all starts, Šarić has averages of 11.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in 30.5 minutes per contest. Originally selected by the Orlando Magic with the 12th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Šarić had his rights traded to Philadelphia on June 26, 2014. He then signed a multiyear contract with the 76ers on July 15, 2016.
Bayless, 30, has appeared in 552 career games (93 starts) over a 10-year NBA career, averaging 8.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 21.4 minutes per game. The 6-3 guard was originally selected by the Indiana Pacers with the 11th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. The 76ers signed Bayless as a free agent on July 13, 2016.
Butler, 29, spent one-plus seasons with Minnesota, averaging 22.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 69 contests, all starts. In 2017-18 he was named a Western Conference All-Star and to the All-NBA Third Team after averaging 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 59 games. The Wolves originally acquired Butler via a trade on June 22, 2017 along with the rights to Justin Patton from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the rights to Lauri Markkanen.
Patton, 21, has played in one game for Minnesota since being acquired along with Butler from Chicago on June 22, 2017, totaling two points and one steal in just under four minutes of action.