The trade of Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers ends his tenure as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Jimmy spent a little over a season in Minnesota and helped the Timberwolves end a 14-year playoff drought. The Timberwolves made the playoffs by one game to make the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Jimmy Butler’s addition helped the playoff push. However, did Minnesota give up too much for a one-year rental? Were the pieces more valuable than a first round exit in the playoffs?
The Effects of Jimmy Butler’s Multiple Trades
The Timberwolves traded for Butler in the off-season of 2017. After collecting a haul of young talent through the draft, they sent Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and a draft pick which later became rookie sensation Lauri Markkanen to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Butler and the 16th pick in the 2017 draft, which became Justin Patton. The Chicago Bulls who have been rebuilding since the Derrick Rose days.
The Major Pieces – What They Gave Up
LaVine is coming into his own as a fringe superstar for the Bulls. After averaging a career-high 18.9 points in the 2016-2017 season, LaVine suffered a torn ACL. The Timberwolves weren’t sure if he’d be the same player and traded him for a win now player. He seems have been worth the wait to be back and now he seems better than ever. LaVine is averaging 25.9 points this season and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Dunn was a lottery pick taken fifth overall in the 2016 draft. He seemed like a bust in his first year. He averaged 3.8 points in his rookie year with the Timberwolves. After a trade to the Bulls, Dunn really came into his own and became a force on offense and defense. Dunn averaged 13.4 points and 2 steals per game in his sophomore season with the Bulls. This season he has only been able to play one game missing the first portion of the season to injury.
Markkanen is a promising young player. He’s someone that appears to have the same skillset of Kristaps Porzingis. Markkenan averaged 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds last season along with shooting 43 percent from the field. In his rookie season, he had two 30 point games, one of which he hit a career-high eight three-pointers. Markkanen seems to be developing into a franchise player.
What the Timberwolves Received
Saric was had a breakout season last year with the 76ers. averaging 14.6 points, shooting 45 percent from the field and shooting 39 percent from behind the arc. He turned things up a notch in the playoffs last year averaging 17.2 and 7.3 rebounds per game. Saric is a player that’s more than capable of being a go-to scoring option for a team. Saric is under two more years of control.
Covington isn’t young, but he’s a great role player. He can do a lot of different things offensively and is a capable defender. This is prevalent from his career average of 1.6 steals per game. His production slowed down last year in the playoffs as it was his first time playing after the regular season. Regardless, he remains a solid offensive option. Covington is under contract for three more years.
Along with Saric and Covington, the Timberwolves also received Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick. In all, the Timberwolves received a decent package back for the debacle that was the Jimmy Butler saga. It’s hard to imagine they could’ve signed Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns to max contracts. However, the question will remain if the Timberwolves gave up the wrong player in the Jimmy Butler trade to Chicago. Zach LaVine looks as if he’s becoming a budding superstar along with Lauri Markkanen. The Timberwolves won’t feel the repercussions of this trade short term. Long term is a different story as the front office dysfunction may prevail again and show us why this team has only made the playoffs once in the last 15 years.
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