The Philadelphia 76ers have reached a deal that will send Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, and a 2022 second-round pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler and forward Justin Patton, league sources initially told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe. This is the move Philly fans have craved for dating back to last season. While Butler may not have been the top target in those plans, the 76ers just needed to make a move.
The questions on most lips are, did they give up too much? The loss of Covington will not sting thanks to what Butler will bring to the table. However, losing Saric may cause a bit of trouble as the team will now possibly look to Wilson Chandler as a replacement in the starting lineup.
Last season, despite his struggles, Robert Covington was named First Team All-Defense. This season, he’s averaged 11.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 1.8 blocks per game while shooting .427 percent from the floor. Dario Saric on the season has averaged 11.1 points and 6.6 rebounds on what has been considered a down year for the third-year player.
While Butler is considered an upgrade over both Saric and Covington, it also marks the end of an era.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ core that blossomed last season was one that was built from a plan. The “Trust The Process” era is now officially over in Philly with two of the original members gone. While Embiid and Simmons are left, the once tight unit is now becoming just like the rest of the NBA. General Manager Elton Brand has seen enough.
While the Philadelphia 76ers have continued to play competitive basketball at the beginning of this season, there’s no doubt that something was missing. As one of the better defensive teams in 2017-18, they have fallen to 29th in points allowed, per NBA.com. To win a championship and be considered an elite team, this can’t be tolerated.
The Sixers are also taking on what could be considered a gamble. This offseason, Butler said he wanted out of Minnesota. There has been an issue with him, other players, and the organization. Brand is hoping he made the right decision bringing in someone who could potentially destroy the chemistry of a team on the rise.
Nevertheless, Butler is still good for 21.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. Those are great numbers, but his overall presence on both ends is what will make this team better.
Covington is a great defender, but he does not command the same respect on the offensive end that Jimmy Butler does. Will Butler be able to coexist with Simmons and Embiid? On the season, Simmons averages 11.1 shot attempts per game while Embiid averages 19.2. For the Timberwolves, Butler has averaged 15.7 while shooting .471 percent from the floor.
76ers Are Now Official With Jimmy Butler In Lineup
Brett Brown will have to find a balance and one that will make all three players happy.
The addition of Jimmy Butler will also provide the 76ers with better floor spacing. Simmons at the point of attack was scary enough with Covington on the wings but adding Butler who can also hit from deep (.378 this year) plus getting to the hoop with penetration will serve better for Embiid, J.J. Redick, and Markelle Fultz.
One fear teams had involving any Butler deal was 2019. Butler will become a free agent but the Philadelphia 76ers made this deal with an agreement that Butler will sign a long-term deal, per Wojnarowski and Lowe’s sources. More than likely, this will be a max contract and one that the Philadelphia 76ers can afford.
While fans will feel a bit of remorse with Saric and Covington lost to the modern era of the business in the NBA, they can take solace in the fact that this had to be done. The Toronto Raptors are playing elite level ball this season and the Boston Celtics are still the regarded as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. A move of this magnitude had to be made in order to keep pace.
Winning trumps everything in sports. It took the 76ers just a month into the season to admit that to themselves.