While the NBA universe was abuzz stateside when Jimmy Butler was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night June 22, the three-time All-Star told The Ringer's Bill Simmons he was across the pond in Paris when the deal went down.
"I was in Paris, the night that it happened," Butler said. "We were playing some cards — me, Melo, Gab, D-Wade. I'm not going to talk about the outcome of the game because everybody has a different story, obviously.
"... And my agent called me, and he said, 'Hey, I think you're about to get moved to Minnesota.' And I said, 'OK, cool. I'm going to get back to my spades game.' Because I can't really control [a trade]. It’s out of my control. I try to control what I can control. … And then he calls me [again], 'You just got traded to Minnesota.'"
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The blockbuster, which signaled the start of the Chicago Bulls' rebuild, also propelled the Timberwolves into a more esteemed tier of contention in the Western Conference.
As things stand, Minnesota has the eighth-highest win-total over/under (46.5) among NBA teams, according to OddsShark, while that mark ranks fifth among Western Conference clubs behind the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, respectively.
With expectations skyrocketing, the pressure will be on Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to lead by example and propel the Timberwolves to their first playoff appearance since 2004.