With Jimmy Butler on their roster, the Philadelphia Sixers are now suddenly the favorites to emerge from the Eastern Conference and reach the NBA Finals, former teammate Andrew Wiggins assured Joel Embiid.
Joel Embiid talked with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins about Jimmy Butler. "They thought that we were definitely going to get along," Embiid told ESPN. "He wants to win. Wiggs told me that he thought that we were going to win the East for sure."
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) November 11, 2018
Butler appeared to burn every bridge in his final days with the T-Wolves, but maintained the respect of Minnesota’s locker room.
Karl-Anthony Towns adds that the All-Star shooting guard—who led the 4-9 Timberwolves in scoring at 21.3 points a game—is “one hell of a player” who will be missed.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) November 11, 2018
“He’s one hell of a player,” Towns said Sunday. “I don’t know how many Jimmy Butlers there are in the world, so I think he’ll be missed.”
Towns had spent much of the two months following Butler’s trade request shooting down speculation that there was any friction between the two All-Stars. They didn’t work well together on the court, though. In Towns’ second season in the league — the last full season he played without Butler — the center averaged 25.1 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. Through nine games with Butler this season, Towns’ numbers plummeted to 15.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.
The Timberwolves were together on the team plane returning from Sacramento, California, when Butler found out he would be traded to the 76ers, along with Justin Patton, in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Jerryd Bayless.
“We have a new start,” Derrick Rose said. “There’s no excuses.”