Report: Jimmy Butler Practiced with Timberwolves; Yelled at Teammates, Coaches

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistOctober 10, 2018

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2018, file photo, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jimmy Butler (23)  watches in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Minneapolis. Butler isn't the first NBA star to ask for a trade, nor will he be the last. But it's far from guaranteed that even if he succeeds in forcing Minnesota into making a move he'll wind up in a place he wants. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King, File)
Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

The latest twist in the saga between Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota Timberwolves came on Wednesday when the four-time All-Star stepped on the practice floor with the team.   

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Butler practiced with the Timberwolves as he awaits resolution to his trade request. 

Wojnarowski added Butler spent practice "verbally challenging teammates, coaches and [the] front office," and at times specifically targeted head coach Tom Thibodeau, general manager Scott Layden, and teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. 

Sources told Wojnarowski that Butler yelled in Layden's direction, "you (bleeping) need me. You can't win without me."

Darth Amin reported on ESPN's The Jump (h/t Miami Heat Beat) that Butler played with the third-string players on the Timberwolves and beat the starters in a scrimmage. Wojnarowski detailed the scene after the scrimmage: 

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

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.

"It was bad," one Timberwolves staff member told RealGM's Keith Smith. "Guys come in angry, having bad days all the time. This was as bad as I've ever seen a practice in my years in the NBA."

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported on Tuesday that Butler returned to Minnesota to reiterate his trade stance during a meeting with Thibodeau. 

Per Wojnarowski, the Miami Heat are interested in reengaging the Timberwolves in trade talks after a potential deal fell apart last weekend. 

Butler's relationship with Wiggins and Towns has reportedly been a source of conflict within the Timberwolves' locker room dating back to last season. 

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported over the summer that Butler was often frustrated by the "nonchalant attitudes of younger teammates—specifically Karl-Anthony Towns" during the 2017-18 season.

Butler averaged a team-high 22.2 points in 59 games last season. The Timberwolves finished 47-35 before losing to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. 


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