Jimmy Butler has made it clear that he wants a new team. That didn’t stop him from practicing - hard.
Minnesota Timberwolves swingman, Jimmy Butler has been looking for way out of Minny for much of the Summer. With the 2018-19 NBA season nearly upon us, he still has not been dealt. Coach and Basketball Operations President, Tom Thibodeau has been with Butler for a long time and originally was trying everything to keep him. Now that they are finally open to trading him, they are struggling to find a solid return.
The result is an unhappy Jimmy Butler still with the team. Debatably the top source for happenings in the National Basketball Association, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski or “Woj” is the man to listen for with any news on situations like these. Once Woj broke his Twitter silence to announce that Butler practiced for the first time with the team, we new things were going to get real.
Then the juicy stuff started coming in.
All-Star Jimmy Butler participated in Minnesota's practice, a session that included him verbally challenging teammates, coaches and front office, league sources told ESPN. Butler was vociferous and emotional at times, targeting Thibodeau/Layden/Towns/Wiggins. Story soon on ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 10, 2018
Butler’s return to the team was going to have an unavoidable awkwardness no-matter what. Things apparently went beyond awkward though, with emotions spilling over and confrontations between teammates, coach, and general manager.
From ESPN’s numerous reports on the situation, it sounds like between Butler’s verbal jabs was some of the hardest played basketball a Timberwolves practice has seen since Kevin Garnett.
Butler reportedly played alongside the team’s third-string players and soundly beat the regular starters. He was guarding the much larger Karl-Anthony Towns in the paint and succeeding. He was shining light on KAT and Andrew Wiggins’ lack of killer instinct.
A lot of Minnesota players left Timberwolves practice today energized by Butler's performance, mesmerized with him taking end-of-the-bench players and running the table on the regulars, sources said. At the end, he marched out like if a mic drop. Butler delivered a tour de force.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 10, 2018
The below interview between Jimmy and ESPN’s Rachel Nichols confirms the reports concerning how things went down. Butler is clearly displeased, believing that he is underappreciated as the hardest working player on his team. He says that Towns has the most talent and Wiggins has the most “God-given” ability with his long arms, large hands, and bounce. He has also made it clear who has the most fire.
Even if Butler is right about his running-mate’s lack of drive or the organization’s lack of appreciation for him, his response was perhaps a bit bold. Outplaying everyone in the gym and challenging teammates is one thing, but some of his comments towards ownership need some censoring. Regardless, Jimmy is clearly playing at his old All-Star level and looking to take a team with him to the top - whichever team that may be.
Many players may have left inspired by Jimmy Butler’s tenacity. By the end of the day though, the wound between Butler and the organization has not been mended. You know what that means? Unless a trade happens instantly, he’ll be back practicing with the team again today.
Update: It has been reported that the Timberwolves are not practicing today (10/11). There will be no media access either.
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