Jimmy Butler trade: winners and losers
Last week, Jimmy Butler was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers along with Justin Patton, and the Timberwolves received Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a second-round pick in 2022. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I don’t think Jimmy Butler’s stats are going to change drastically, and I feel the same about Robert Covington. While all players involved will obviously experience a small change in production, there are some clear winners and losers.
To me, the biggest winner of this trade is Andrew Wiggins. With Butler out of the picture, the Minnesota offense is going to move through Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. Since the trade processed, Wiggins has averaged 21.5 shots per game, which is 5.5 more than his season average. I also think Jeff Teague has a great opportunity to run the offense and be a true point guard again. Without Jimmy Butler, I expect the Wolves to run a lot of pick and rolls and pick and pops, presumably with Teague and Towns. On the Philadelphia side, the two primary beneficiaries are Mike Muscala and Wilson Chandler, who both have moved up in the depth chart since the departure of Covington and Saric.
The biggest loser in this trade is going to be Dario Saric. Since the trade, his minutes per game have dropped by over 6, and I don’t expect head coach Tom Thibodeau to work him into his already small rotation. The other loser in this trade is Markelle Fultz. Since the trade, his minutes per game have been reduced from 23.5 to 17.5, and he’s fallen out of the starting lineup.
Carmelo Anthony inactive indefinitely
Last week, the Rockets decided to “part ways” with Anthony, which essentially means that he could be traded or released by the team. Based on his play over the past two seasons, I’m not sure another team will be willing to give him a chance. Carmelo was averaging 13.4 points on 12.1 shots in 29.4 minutes per game this season.
The most likely candidate to pick up Anthony’s minutes is James Ennis III. He’s been a journeyman since entering the league four seasons ago, playing for five different teams. Ennis has been a starter for the Rockets all season. He’s played over 33 minutes and scored over 15 points in two straight games, so it looks like he’s earned a more consistent role in the offense. Power forward Gary Clark is worth watching as well. His minutes have slowly risen over the last two weeks, and he could carve out a role for himself moving forward.
What does Golden State’s drama mean for fantasy?
Draymond Green and Kevin Durant got into an altercation during a loss to the Clippers last week. It escalated until the team suspended Green for a game. Following that suspension, Green reaggravated his toe injury. It’s very possible that things will settle down once Stephen Curry returns, but Golden State’s team chemistry has definitely been damaged and will probably never fully recover.
I think it’s very possible that Durant leaves the team in free agency in the offseason, but until then, nothing really changes. I don’t expect Green, Durant or any of the other Warriors to have lowered production because of the incident, but it’s something to keep an eye on.