The Jimmy Butler saga finally comes to an end after the Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to trade their disgruntled superstar and Justin Patton to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Jerryd Bayless, and a 2022 second-round pick. With Butler no longer in Minnesota, most people expect the Timberwolves to be more focused in earning a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference and return the key of the franchise to Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
However, it seems like the drama in Minnesota still continues despite getting rid of the major distraction. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor wants to see the “dividends” of their recent deal with the Sixers and if they still fail to end their struggle, the team may consider parting ways with President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden.
“As Philadelphia ramps up its rise into contention, Minnesota is sorting through what’s left in Butler’s wake. Taylor considered firing Thibodeau and Layden in the summer — well before the Butler situation escalated — and has continued to consider possibilities to eventually replace both of them, league sources said. There’s immense pressure on Minnesota’s management structure to see dividends on this trade. Thibodeau gambled using every fiber of a coach’s short-term sensibilities over those of management’s longer view — and lost on them all.”
Jimmy Butler will be a welcome addition on the court. https://t.co/f9BJQraXOt— Philly.com Sports (@phillysport) November 11, 2018
Since the 2018 NBA offseason, rumors are already swirling around Coach Tom Thibodeau and his future with the Timberwolves. When Jimmy Butler demanded a trade from the Timberwolves, Thibodeau initially refused to make him available on the trading block, believing that they could still convince him to stay beyond the 2018-19 NBA season. However, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor urged him and General Manager Scott Layden to trade Butler as soon as possible.
Dario Saric and Robert Covington are far from the level of Jimmy Butler, but they are still great additions to the Sixers since they fit the timeline of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Covington could replace Butler in the wing, giving the Timberwolves another incredible defender who has a good reputation from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Saric could form a formidable duo with Towns in the Timberwolves’ frontcourt.
With the Timberwolves currently on a five-game losing streak, both Dario Saric and Robert Covington should immediately make an impact and help the team return to the winning column. If they continue to lose games, it is highly likely that the Timberwolves will consider finding replacements for Thibodeau and Layden.