With a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jimmy Butler bring an end to what has been one of the most dramatic stories of the 2018-19 season.

The disgruntled All-Star wing wanted a contract extension in the offseason, and after not receiving one, requested a trade to a franchise where he’d be financially compensated in a manner he thought was appropriate. The former Chicago Bulls wing was traded back into the Eastern Conference, escaping LeBron James and the difficult waters his team would have to navigate to make the playoffs.

The Timberwolves, after weeks of rumored trade packages, will welcome Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and Jerryd Bayless to their roster as they try to return to the playoffs for a second year in a row.

While the team on the northern border of the United States resolved their roster issue, one of the teams along the southern border of the country took another step in resolving their roster issue. The Houston Rockets, who acquired Carmelo Anthony in the offseason in an attempt to pair the former All-Star alongside James Harden and Chris Paul, are rumored to be releasing Anthony. The experiment hasn’t worked out for Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey, who have seen their defense fail and their offense clang to a halt one year after being a quarter away from the NBA Finals.

Anthony’s time in the NBA may be drawing to a close, leaving Denver Nuggets fans to wonder if a return to the Mile High City is in the cards for the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2003 draft. Anthony famously requested a trade, demanding to be dealt to the New York Knicks to help him secure a lucrative contract extension that wouldn’t be available to him in free agency. The Nuggets, under Masai Ujiri, were able to pull off grand larceny, robbing the Knicks of the pieces they’d need to be title contenders while swiping future draft assets that they would use to help them return to playoff contention.

The impact of the trade has been massive, and continues to be seen in the league today. It’s not just seen when players request trades to the franchise of their choice either — even the assets dealt in the trade are connected to the Carmelo Anthony trade.

The Nuggets received the Knicks 2014 first round pick as part of the trade for Anthony. Before they could use that pick, they wound up trading it to the Orlando Magic in a four-team trade for Andre Iguodala. The Magic would use that pick on Saric, only to trade him to the 76ers for Elfrid Payton. Saric would remain in Europe for two years while the Sixers trusted the process, signing a contract in 2016. Two years after signing with Philly, the Croatian forward would be dealt to the Minnesota for Jimmy Butler, and on November 21, the player selected with one of the picks the Nuggets acquired in the Anthony trade will play in Denver against another one of the players selected with a first round pick courtesy of the Knicks in Jamal Murray (the 2016 pick swap).

While the future may not be certain for Anthony in regards to his presence on a NBA team, the future of the league continues to be shaped by his trade request in 2011. Perhaps the Butler trade will result in one of their current stars requesting a trade due to chemistry or salary cap issues. Perhaps the next star to be moved will have draft assets attached that will be used on a future All-Star guard that will haunt the team that could have selected him for the next 12 years.

As always, NBA fans will be on the edge of their seats awaiting the next big story and how it will affect the future of the league we all love. For now, Nuggets fans will see how a Tuesday night game against the Rockets plays out.

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