Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons were reportedly "consulted" about Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Jimmy Butler before the Sixers pulled off a blockbuster trade for the four-time NBA All-Star selection Saturday.
Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice reported the 76ers' front office spoke with both franchise cornerstones "prior to the agreement taking place."
Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic provided full details of the deal:
Butler's ability to fit in alongside Embiid and Simmons is crucial in the team's efforts to contend in the Eastern Conference and potentially even for an NBA championship.
One of the reasons for his exit from Minnesota was frequently rumored discontent between himself, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Now the Sixers will watch closely as he tries to create a better rapport with their superstars.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe each added further reporting on that subject:
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
Sixers and Butler aren't allowed to enter into a negotiation or a agree on an extension yet, but barring physical issues or Butler failing to fit into the Embiid-Simmons dynamic both sides are optimistic on a long-term future. Sixers would be paying a steep price for a rental. https://t.co/eJv11Ynfsc
Butler downplayed any lingering problems with Towns or Wiggins during an interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic released shortly before the trade news went public.
"I'm not a bad dude. I'm not a bad teammate. I'd do anything for my guys, man," he said. "If Thibs [head coach Tom Thibodeau] is coming at somebody, I'm the first guy to be, like, 'Leave him alone.' Whether it's KAT [Towns], whether it's Wiggs [Wiggins], whether it's Tyus [Jones], whether it's Taj [Gibson]."
Butler continued to produce despite the drama, averaging 21.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals across 10 appearances for the Wolves before the reported deal.
It's unclear when the 29-year-old Marquette product will make his Sixers debut, but Philly has four games next week starting Monday against the Miami Heat and followed by clashes with the Orlando Magic (Wednesday), Utah Jazz (Friday) and Charlotte Hornets (Saturday).