Welcome to the Truda Report everyone. The biggest move in the NBA so far this season caused a lot of discussion about which side won the trade, something we haven't seen much of with blockbuster trades in recent years. Teams looking to start a rebuild have usually sent star players to good teams for barely anything in return making the question of who won the trade an easy answer, but the way things are working out for both sides makes this move a little harder to analyze. I'll break down what I think has been good and bad for both team, and then give my verdict in this article. If there are any suggestions for later topics leave them below, and let me know if you disagree with anything I said in this article because I love nothing more than a good sports debate.
Timberwolves Receive: Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jarryd Bayless, future second round pick
76ers Receive: Jimmy Butler, Justin Patton
For the TWolves, this trade was about remaking their locker room and getting back the most value for Jimmy they could without handing him to a Western Conference contender. On the surface, Minnesota did a good job of this. After the trade Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins should definitely feel more comfortable than when they had a very intimidating bona fide star in their face telling them to play harder and stop padding stats. KAT undoubtedly plays better without Jimmy on the court as he's allowed to take most of the shots and he doesn't feel crowded at the hoop. His play has not disappointed. Andrew Wiggins on the other hand has done exactly what I expected him to do: flop. Wiggins is on a huge 5 year $146.5 million contract and he still hasn't proven himself to be a capable NBA player. Minnesota banked on him coming into form with the exodus of Butler, but the opposite has happened. Wiggins continues to be a defensive liability and he can't find his jump shot. He has all of the athletic potential in the world, but after having gone number one in the draft back in 2014 he is quietly becoming a bust.
Helping offset the disappointment of Wiggins are the additions Minnesota made through the trade. Robert Covington continues to be exceptional of defense, and he can provide scoring in spots. Dario Saric gives the Timberwolves much needed three point shooting, and although he has taken a step back since last season it's still and upgrade from what was there. Bayless and the second round pick were more filler than anything else for Minnesota, who really only made the trade because of a player I have yet to mention.
I'm getting a little off topic with this mention, but this deal wouldn't have been done without the reemergence of Derrick Rose. Rose has been spectacular this season and is a clear All-Star. He's taken on some of the scoring load left by Butler, allowing for this trade to leave the Timberwolves in not that bad of a spot. Rose took on the scoring, Covington took on the defense, and Saric took on some three point shooting. All of that has helped Minnesota continue to win some games with the absence of Butler.
My goodness has Justin Patton been incredible! I'm kidding, of course. The only piece of value that the Sixers got back in this deal is Jimmy G. Buckets. Butler has been nothing less than what Philly could have wanted. Besides being lit up by point guard Kemba Walker for 60 in a Sixers win (Jimmy of course had the game winning block, save, and three pointer to seal the game) Butler has been himself defensively. On offense Jimmy isn't lighting up the stat sheet, although he has had his share of big games. Butler has been efficient though, and he's doing what the Sixers want: play second fiddle to Joel Embiid, and sometimes even Ben Simmons. Where Butler isn't expected to take a step back is crunch time though, and that is what makes this Sixers team so dangerous now. Butler already has two game winners in the about 10 games he's been with the team, and just Sunday he had a dagger to seal another game. Butler is clutch, having hit 5 game winners with less than 10 seconds left since the 2016 season. That's second to only Russell Westbrook who takes basically every important shot for his team, while Butler has been splitting crunch time touches most of his career. Butler is doing for this team what they needed, helping a poor defensive lineup lock up opposing team's main offensive threats, and providing experienced, clutch, play when it matters.
So Who Won?
In the end, this trade can be looked at a million different ways and all that will matter is wins and loses. Philly was the better team entering this season, and what they did was come out an even bigger threat. Minnesota on the other hand, came out of this a worse team, and despite winning four straight after Butler's departure they find themselves in the 10th spot in the West and an unlikely Playoff team. Butler had the TWolves as the number three squad in the NBA last year until his knee injury a little while after the All Star break, and now Minnesota can only dream about being that successful. Meanwhile, the Sixers, after a rough start, find themselves third in the East while still going through some growing pains in figuring out exactly what new lineups work best. Philly can be considered the winner of this trade for the foreseeable future, and Minnesota will have to wonder whether they made a mistake siding with the likes of Wiggins over Jimmy Butler.
High School Senior from Connecticut obsessed with sports stats, facts, and management.