In a completely unsurprising, yet imminent turn of events, Jimmy Butler was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric and a 2022 second round pick.
Jimmy Butler was acquired by the Timberwolves in June 2017, in exchange for Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn and the 7th overall draft pick, which eventually became Lauri Markkanen.
Since being acquired, things have not worked out quite as well as everyone had hoped. The team has struggled with team chemistry, while Tom Thibodeau uses a potential super star in every single wrong way that he can manage.
Butler has made it abundantly clear that he wants out of Minnesota, especially after making an absolute spectacle of himself in camp before the season started. Karl Anthony Towns, who has not even started the first year of his super-max contract, has sat silently on the sideline while Jimmy Butler has antagonized everyone from Tom Thibodeau, to the team GM to the rest of his teammates.
Jimmy Butler is on the last year of his contract, making him a rental player who would probably make sense to trade, if the team is not going to make a run at a title. Minnesota certainly has the talent to compete but they won’t make it past the first round, due to their coaching staff’s incompetency. KAT is not a defensive guy. He’s a scorer. So let him score. Seems pretty basic to me.
The insane part about this is that the Rockets offered the Timberwolves FOUR FIRST ROUND PICKS for Butler just a few weeks ago, yet they went with the offer from the 76ers. Four first round picks can completely change your franchise. Due to the collective bargaining agreement, this is the max that a front office can trade, and the picks cannot be in successive years. The picks had no protection, either.
This whole thing is nothing shy of baffling for the Timberwolves. For the 76ers? This is a solid trade. It makes them better in the East, but I’m not entirely sure how much better. Butler will be next to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, two players who need the ball in their hands to be effective. Now they will have to work Butler in to the mix, as well, and that will be interesting to see. That still gives me reason to believe in Toronto, Boston or Milwaukee over Philadelphia.
I’m glad that Minnesota is moving on from a player who played an entire defensive drive with his hands in his pocket. While they should have gotten more, I think that they receive two really solid players in Robert Covington and Dario Saric. Both of these guys have been major contributors to the Sixers.
But, my faith in Thibodeau is at an all-time low.
Here is some context around my feelings on Tom Thibodeau.
I have been a known Tom Thibodeau hater for quite some time. Thibs was once known as a brilliant defensive mind, helping lead the Celtics to the 2008 NBA Championship. He is a pure defense first guy, and has absolutely no clue how to run an offense.
His head coaching career has been…well…less than overwhelming, to say the least. Thibodeau has consistently run talented players in to the ground, failed to communicate with players, and has done nothing but try to make the same insanity work, twice, with two different teams.
Thibs was the head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 2010 to 2015, touting a 255-139 record, which is actually very respectable.
Tom Thibodeau was fired after the 2014-2015 season, seeking and finding a new head coaching opportunity with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The main issue with his hiring is not that they brought him in as the coach, but that the T-Wolves also named him President of Basketball Operations. In other words, ownership granted him complete roster control. This is typically very dangerous business.
He has done nothing but flail like a fish since he has been in Minnesota. Look at this year as an example: a player shows up to his practice, screams at people, berates his coach, GM and teammates, and you just stand there and let it happen? Then, once the season starts, you just let him pick and choose games that he wants to play?
Yeah….really seems like somebody who has control of things.
I’m not saying that Thibodeau has to be an authoritarian (which he tries to be but fails), but he at least has to use their natural skill sets in places that let them be more than one dimensional.
Any coach would be better than Thibodeau. Lets all hope, for Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins’ sake, that ownership figures this out.