Jimmy Butler to join Ben Simmons’ 76ers
Ben Simmons is getting another All-Star to help his Philadelphia 76ers launch a serious strike on the NBA championship.
After months of bickering and a poisonous locker room with his Minnesota Timberwolves, four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler has been granted his wish and is set to be traded to the 76ers.
Las Vegas oddsmakers immediately upgraded the 76ers’ odds to win the NBA title from 20-1 to 10-1 and claim the Eastern Conference from 8-1 to 3-1.
The deal is yet to be formally announced by the NBA, but both teams have agreed to it.
The 76ers have had an inconsistent start to the new NBA season winning eight and losing five games.
They sit in third place in the Eastern Conference behind front runners the Toronto Raptors and second-placed Milwaukee Bucks, who feature Australians Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker.
The 76ers also needed to find another superstar to help the team overcome Aron Baynes’ Boston Celtics, who sit in fifth place in the East but proved too strong for Rookie of the Year, Australia’s Simmons, and All-Star centre Joel Embiid, in last year’s playoffs.
76ers coach Brett Brown talked before the season about the team shopping for a third superstar and they will get that with Butler.
Butler, a shooting guard and small forward, is an elite scorer and defender.
The 76ers will send key members Robert Covington and Dario Saric to Minnesota in the deal.
Philadelphia’s Jerryd Bayless, Justin Patton and a 2020 second-round draft pick will also be sent to Minnesota.
The Timberwolves have been a disaster this season with Butler openly vilifying team-mates as soft and demanding a trade, and with the team losing all five games on their latest road trip. Head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau pulled the trigger on the trade.
The deal also puts the 76ers in the box seat to sign Butler next year to a maximum five-year $US190 million ($A263 million) contract – more than any other team.
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