How Jimmy Butler trade to 76ers shifts power atop the Eastern Conference

The Golden State Warriors are in a league of their own.

But if you’re looking at the next batch of quality teams in the NBA, the Eastern Conference more than holds its own, especially given the starts by the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks.

The Boston Celtics are enduring early-season struggles but should be there among the East’s best come April, and now, after adding All-Star Jimmy Butler in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Philadelphia 76ers are right there, giving the East four quality teams who could play in the NBA Finals.

That’s what the 29-year-old Butler can do – turn a good team into a very good or great team.

Within the past two weeks, trade talks between the Sixers and Timberwolves began to advance and the Timberwolves finally gave in after losing their fifth straight game and realizing Butler had to go. The dysfunction was too much, and they found an acceptable deal with the Sixers, who gave up Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Jerryd Bayless and a future second-round pick.

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