The Sixers and Butler, a four-time All-Star, have every intention of formalizing a long-term agreement this summer, sources said, but nothing is allowed to be negotiated or agreed upon until Butler opts out of the final year of his contract after the season. The Sixers will weigh Butler’s physical condition and how he fits with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but they didn’t give up such significant assets believing that this would be a rental situation.
The 76ers would be able to offer Butler a five-year max contract worth $190 million, while other teams could offer four years and a projected $141 million.
Minnesota president and coach Tom Thibodeau decided late Friday night, after a fifth straight loss, that the team could no longer function with Butler as a part of it, sources said. The Timberwolves accomplished one goal in the trade, league sources said: sending Butler to the Eastern Conference and not to a Western rival.
The deal was negotiated on the ownership level with Philadelphia’s Josh Harris and Minnesota’s Glen Taylor, league sources said. Harris and Taylor worked closely with the front offices, including Sixers general manager Elton Brand and Minnesota’s Scott Layden and Thibodeau, on executing the trade.
Sources said Bayless could be waived, but the Timberwolves are still making a decision on his status.
The Sixers’ odds to win the NBA title have improved from 30-1 to 16-1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, and their odds to win the Eastern Conference went from 7-1 to 3-1.
The Timberwolves and 76ers play twice this season: Jan. 15 in Philadelphia and March 30 in Minnesota.