The Minnesota Timberwolves did what was best for their franchise by trading Jimmy Butler. However, there should be no one celebrating this trade.
Shooting guard Jimmy Butler is no longer a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. And that is a terrible thought. The fact that the Timberwolves’ jettisoned Butler to the Philadelphia Sixers less than a year and a half after they acquired him from the Chicago Bulls is not a cause for celebration. In actuality, a funeral procession of a proud NBA franchise should be taking place.
For the Timberwolves, getting starters Robert Covington and Dario Saric was worth moving Butler. Nevertheless, it was an initial trade that the Timberwolves made which came with such inherent risk that it likely set the team back for at least five seasons. The first one being the remainder of this season.
Despite trading Jimmy Butler, the Timberwolves have a considerable amount of talent. If Derrick Rose can continue his renaissance year, the Timberwolves will threaten to take one of the final playoff spots in the vaunted Western Conference. It is difficult to think about where the Timberwolves would be if they had not traded for Butler at all.
The deal sending Butler to the Sixers is an admittance that acquiring him was a soul-crushing miscalculation.
DId Butler help get the Timberwolves to the postseason? Yes!
Were Butler’s younger teammates ready for the brighter lights that the playoffs bring? Perhaps!
Has was the Timberwolves in terms of team chemistry? In a word — disturbing!
Had the Timberwolves not “fleeced” the Bulls as most NBA observers originally viewed the trade in the first place the team would have a better than serviceable starting point guard in Kris Dunn and a future star in Lauri Markkanen. That is part of the chatter going on near someone’s cubicle or water cooler. Then there is the elephant in the room.
Has anyone watched a Bulls game lately? I mean really watch a Bulls game. Zach LaVine looks like an all-star these days. LaVine is averaging 27.7 points a game and has a PER of 20 for a Bulls team with an identical 4-9 record coming into Monday.
The big difference is that the Bulls are missing Dunn and Markkannen, along with key stalwarts Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine. Andrew Wiggins missed a few games for the Timberwolves, as did Butler. Was the latter held out intentionally until a trade took place? It did not cost the Timberwolves games. A clear lack of chemistry did the trick.
Bemoaning what could have been, should have been can go on for years. It is clear, however, that the Timberwolves are not looking like winners in any aspect of the Butler trades. There is a silver lining, nevertheless.
All-star Karl-Anthony Towns is now atop the Timberwolves’ hierarchy as the face of the franchise. Towns is as talented as they come. Now the Timberwolves’ front office and or ownership must find pieces to compliment his game.
Apparently, one of those players was not Jimmy Butler, who will now help the Sixers make it to the next level while he continues his silent bid for Hall of Fame consideration. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves may be left in his wake.
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Covington and Saric look like perfect fits for the Timberwolves. Here is hoping that they are. Either way, do not celebrate the Jimmy Butler trade. T’wolves fans deserved a happier ending. What the Timberwolves got from the Butler experiment was far from it.