The Boston Celtics were tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the Eastern Conference, but one of their closest competitors got a little closer Saturday, as the Philadelphia 76ers added Jimmy Butler in a three-player deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With Butler, who reportedly is expected to sign a long-term deal with Philly, the Sixers have put the finishing touches on “The Process” by getting a star wing player who can knock down 3-pointers, create his own shot and defend at a high level. The Marquette product should fit nicely alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, making Philly even more of a threat to the Celtics and Toronto Raptors than they already were.
While the 76ers adding Butler could be an issue for Boston down the road, head coach Brad Stevens is focused on getting his team to play better right now and not on the new potential superpower in the East.
The Celtics have started the season 7-5 while playing lackluster defense and relying heavily on 3-point shooting that has been pedestrian, to say the least. Boston has gone 1-3 during the first four games of its five-game road trip, but they’ll look to end the journey on a high note Sunday when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center.
Stevens and Co. will see Butler in a Sixer uniform for the first time on Christmas Day at TD Garden.
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