The NBA season is past its halfway mark, and the Minnesota Timberwolves have had one of the most compelling journeys of this 2018-19 campaign. Let’s review and look ahead.
From preseason drama to in-season trades and firings, the Minnesota Timberwolves have managed to weather the storm to a 24-24 record.
Now that we’re through The First 48, let’s examine the drama that has been, as well as look forward to the latter stages of the season.
Following a mostly quiet summer, the 2018-19 Timberwolves appeared set to essentially run back the same roster that had ended the league’s longest playoff drought in 2017-18.
It seems however, that Butler was never really content in Minnesota, nor was he confident in the upward trajectory of its young core. Despite then-head coach Tom Thibodeau’s best attempts, the team had no choice but to move on from its disgruntled star after 13 games, three of which Butler did not play for the team due to “general soreness”.
Predictably, those 13 games saw the Wolves struggle to a 4-9 record.
On Nov. 12, the Timberwolves finally pulled the plug on the Jimmy Butler experiment (which, all told, only saw the star suit-up for the team 69 times), trading him, along with second-year center Justin Patton to the Philadelphia 76ers for guards Robert Covington and Jerryd Bayless, as well as forward Dario Saric and a 2022 second-round draft pick.
More than two months into things, the trade has been a good fit for both teams. The Timberwolves are 20-15 since the move, despite Covington missing 12 of those games. The Sixers have posted a 24-11 record since the blockbuster deal, but will now be forced to bolster their bench through trades and/or the buyout market.