The 2018-19 NBA Season is still early, but it looks like we have our first major story that will impact the league.
After 13 games into the 2018-19 season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have traded their disgruntled star, Jimmy Butler, along with former 1st round pick Justin Patton to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for rotational forwards Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and a 2022 1st round pick.
Butler, who led the 4-9 T-Wolves with 21.3 points per game, along with 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game, will join a young, but already proven Eastern Conference contender in Philadelphia. The 76’ers, who are led by the young, exciting frontcourt of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, are currently 3rd in the conference with an 8-5 record.
The Timberwolves on the other hand, now have a clear direction to shift their focus back to their young stars Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, who reportedly (and publicly) had their on-court issues with Butler during the 2017-18 season, as well as the beginning of this season.
The situation with Butler, Wiggins, and Towns had gotten so bad for the T-Wolves that it was reported Butler had asked to be traded during the beginning of the 2018-19 season. Butler held out for most of the team’s training camp and even started a rift with the team after a team scrimmage in practice.
Another team affected by this trade is the Houston Rockets, who expressed heavy interest in the veteran forward Butler, and were reportedly willing to trade four future first-round draft picks.
Butler, a Houston native, grew up in a toxic environment from the beginning of his childhood. Butler's father abandoned him when he was an infant and he was kicked out of his home by his mother at the age of 13.
Butler was able to channel his rough beginnings by becoming a star player for Tomball High School from 2003-2007. He also played a season at Tyler Junior College before transferring to Marquette in 2008.
While the Rockets did miss out on their chance to land Butler in a trade, the star forward’s current contract has him as an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
For now, the 76er’s have a major chance to contend in an Eastern Conference that seems up for grabs.