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November 12, 2018

Robert Covington, Dario Saric post farewell messages to Philly

The Philadelphia 76ers' blockbuster trade to acquire All-Star forward Jimmy Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves became official on Monday.

Landing a star talent on Butler's level came at a hefty price for the Sixers, who offered a package centered around Process-era fixtures Robert Covington and Dario Saric. Their departure from Philadelphia will be bittersweet for Sixers fans who appreciated the grit and personality both players brought to the team.

MORE SIXERSSixers' trade for Jimmy Butler carries significant risk and upside 

Covington defied all odds to emerge from the NBA's developmental league as a legitimate NBA talent over his four full seasons in Philadelphia. In an Instagram post on Monday, Covington said his farewell to the Sixers and the Philadelphia fans.

Saric posted his own goodbye later on Monday afternoon. 

A tweet from a Croatian sports account painted a tearful picture of the moment the news broke.

This probably hurts even more for Saric's biggest fans.

What ultimately matters is that the Sixers got the player they believe will help position them best to compete for an NBA championship. Butler will have an introductory press conference on Tuesday before suiting up with the Sixers for the first time Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic.

Butler's reputation in NBA circles has become a question mark after he found himself at the center of drama on both the Bulls and Timberwolves. Not that Matt Barnes is an ambassador for NBA respectability, but he took a shot at Butler on Instagram the night before the trade went through.

Time will tell whether the Sixers made the right call. You can easily picture Covington and Saric, both young players, having individual success elsewhere. A great start for Butler, who's pushing 30, would be demonstrating he can handle the competition and adversity of the NBA without antagonizing his teammates.