Barring yet another dramatic twist, the Jimmy Butler saga in the North Star State appears to be coming to a close.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have traded Butler and center Justin Patton to the Philadelphia 76ers for a package including forward Dario Saric, wing Robert Covington, guard Jerryd Bayless, and a 2022 second-round pick, sources told The Athletic's Shams Charania and Jon Krawcynzki.
The trade call with the league office is expected to be made on Monday, with Wednesday's game against the Orlando Magic being the earliest Butler could make his Sixers debut, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Minnesota acquired Butler and Patton from the Chicago Bulls in a draft-day deal last year in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and Lauri Markkanen. That initial blockbuster reunited Butler with former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who signed a five-year deal in 2016 to become the Timberwolves' team president and head coach.
But playing for the coach under whom he blossomed into a perennial All-Star was evidently not enough to garner Butler's long-term commitment to the franchise.
News broke in September that Butler had requested a trade from Minnesota after turning down a four-year extension in the range of $110 million. This followed reports of division between himself and the Timberwolves' blue chip youngsters, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. The 29-year-old Butler reportedly informed the organization he did not envision a long-term stay with the team; with a player option below market value for the 2019-20 season, Butler would have been able to leave Minnesota as early as summer 2019.
The fallout included a period of general calamity. Thibodeau was reportedly signaling he wouldn't trade Butler, but Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor was said to have confirmed his availability at the NBA's Board of Governors meeting.
In the run-up to the regular season, Butler elected to stay away from the Timberwolves' training camp and media day while he waited for the team to acquiesce to his trade demand. When he finally did rejoin the team, Butler reportedly lambasted Towns, Wiggins, Thibodeau, and general manager Scott Layden during a closed practice.
Butler was nearly traded to the Miami Heat before the start of the season, with the teams reportedly exchanging medical information. That deal reportedly fell apart at the 11th hour after the Timberwolves attempted to increase their return. As originally constructed, the deal with Miami would have included guard Josh Richardson and big man Kelly Olynyk, sources told Sportsnet's Michael Grange.
With Minnesota unable to reignite trade talks prior to the start of the 2018-19 season, Butler returned to the team. Through 10 appearances, the four-time All-Star averaged 21.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.4 steals per game.