Minnesota Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins denied the presence of any animosity between him and teammate Jimmy Butler since Butler arrived in Minneapolis last season.
"We've always been cool," Wiggins said Wednesday, per Sportsnet's Michael Grange. "Even after all that stuff happened this summer, from what people made it seem like, nothing happened. We always cool. even the first time I seen him during training camp and we talked, there was never no problem."
The Sporting News' Sean Deveney reported in June that Butler "had problems last season with Wiggins, his work ethic and his approach on the defensive end of the floor" and that Butler's presence didn't positively impact Wiggins' development as the Timberwolves had hoped.
Then came Butler's trade request in September. Wiggins' brother Nick had an interesting reaction to the news.
That elicited a response from Butler in an Instagram story.
Upon Butler's return to the team in October, he essentially commandeered the team's practice. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Butler led a squad of backups to a win over Minnesota's starters in a five-on-five scrimmage and told Wolves general manager Scott Layden, "You f--king need me, Scott. You can't win without me."
Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes also reported Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns were among those whom Butler targeted.
"Screaming from the top of his lungs, Butler uttered taunts at his teammates, including 'They ain't [expletive]!' and 'They soft!,'" league sources said," Haynes wrote. "Most of the players knew the invectives were directed at Towns and Wiggins, sources said."
In an interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols, Butler said much of the reports were true without going into specifics about each detail.
In addition, Butler said he had been trying to lead by example for Towns and Wiggins (h/t Wojnarowski):
"Am I being tough on [Towns]? Yeah, that's who am I. I'm not the most talented player on the team. Who is the most talented player on our team—KAT. Who is the most God-gifted player on our team—Wiggs. Who plays the hardest? Me! I play hard. I put my body [on the line] every day in practice, every day in games. That's my passion. Everybody leads in different ways. That's how I show I'm here for you."
While Wiggins denied there being any drama with Butler, the on-court returns haven't been promising.
Granted it's only a three-game sample, but Minnesota has a minus-7.9 net rating when Butler and Wiggins were on the court together, per NBA.com. Butler is the only teammate with whom Wiggins has a negative net rating.