Per The Athletic's Shams Charania, Butler led a players-only meeting Thursday in which he told teammates he "would compete with them" and made known his issues with Timberwolves management.
Charania added Butler's main message was to let Minnesota players know he is going to be the one leading the group. Butler later confirmed the meeting happened to ESPN's Rachel Nichols.
However, Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague denied the meeting took place, calling it "fake news."
Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.com noted more members of the Timberwolves organization denied the meeting took place.
Alex Kennedy @AlexKennedyNBA
Another Wolves player, Darius Johnson-Odom, tweeted (then deleted) that there was no players-only meeting. So far, we have Jeff Teague, Darius Johnson-Odom and player-development coach John Lucas III saying there WASN'T a meeting versus Jimmy Butler saying there WAS a meeting. https://t.co/ggRAZPWiu6
ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the four-time All-Star was "vociferous and intense" throughout his first practice Wednesday. He targeted head coach Tom Thibodeau, general manager Scott Layden and Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and other teammates.
"You f--king need me, Scott. You can't win without me," Butler yelled at Layden, per Wojnarowski.
In an interview later Wednesday with Nichols, Butler explained his actions on the practice floor:
"A lot of it is true, but you got to think, I haven't played basketball in so long and I'm so passionate and I love the game and I don't do it for any other reason except to compete and to go up against the best to try and prove I can hang. So all my emotion came out at one time. Was it the right way to do it? No. But I can't control that when I'm out there competing. That's my love of the game, that's raw me. Me at my finest, me at my purest. That's what you're going to get inside the lines."
Charania noted indications right now are that Butler will begin the 2018-19 season in Minnesota and doesn't intend to sit out because "he's far too competitive to sit real games."
The T-Wolves will tip off the 2018-19 regular season Oct. 17 against the San Antonio Spurs.