Jimmy Butler to join Ben Simmons’ 76ers

The 76ers add four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler but lose stalwarts
Robert Covington and Dario Saric in the deal.

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.