The Minnesota Timberwolves have been nothing but drama these last few months and even starting a year ago. They were once thought to be a franchise on the rise. Instead, they are a hot mess and it’s about to get hotter as the season approaches.
Recently, Jimmy Butler, one of the best two-way players in the game, met with Coach Thibodeau in Los Angeles to discuss his future. Little did the coach know that he would request a trade. In fact, Butler even mentioned his desired destinations.
According to league sources, Butler expressed interest in the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Clippers. That came as a surprise because a handful of people thought the Lakers would be number one on his list.
Three years ago, Jimmy loved the idea of playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. What changed? Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the presence of LeBron James made the difference. Once, LeBron signed with the Lakers, the franchise appeared less appealing.
Butler appears to be trying to sign with a weaker team and hopes a max player joins him. Money plays a factor as well. He wants to sign a five-year extension with whoever trades for him. If he enters free agency, he will only get a four-year deal worth less money.
The Timberwolves were once considered a super team once Butler was traded there. Teaming up with Karl-Anthony Towns (KAT) and Andrew Wiggins seemed like a good fit on paper. In reality, Butler was fed up with playing alongside both of them.
Sources familiar with the situation told Sean Devery of Sporting News what transpired. “Butler had problems with Andrew’s work ethic on the defensive end last season. Thibodeau was hoping that adding a veteran like Butler would fix that. Consequently, it didn’t.”
Wiggins has underachieved in the NBA and has been accused by Butler to be “playing for stats.” The Timberwolves gave him a max contract even though he didn’t’ deserve it. Now he is almost untradeable, and Butler doesn’t want to stay.
Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported that Coach Thibodeau doesn’t want to stick around if Butler is traded. He wants no part of a rebuilding project. “No one expects Tom to coach a 25-win or 35-win team.” One NBA executive said. “Even if he has to agree to dissolve the contract, they'd do that before they go and trade Butler for draft picks.”
There were conflicting stories about whether Butler was available to be traded or not. One story filed to ESPN was similar to how Tom Thibodeau feels about the situation. Minnesota didn’t sound open to dealing the star.
Another story came out recently from Jimmy’s camp. According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, one source in Butler’s camp believed the trade rumors and contract dispute was “manufactured” by “ownership mouthpieces.”
Timberwolves’ owner, Glen Taylor, made it known that they are open to trading Jimmy Butler. Per ESPN’s Wojnarowski, he told GM’s and owners to contact him directly to discuss possible trades. Taylor made known his plans on Friday, He doesn’t want a dysfunctional season.
The recent social media feud is the type of dysfunction Taylor doesn’t want. Andrew’s brother, Nick Wiggins went to Twitter to express how happy he was to hear Jimmy was leaving. Butler quickly clapped back at his reaction and took a shot at Andrew’s work ethic.
The Timberwolves are falling apart at the seams. Their best player wants to leave. Wiggins is playing for stats and doesn’t play defense. On top of that, KAT refused to sign an extension.
When two of the team’s best players won’t commit to the team, that’s a huge problem. Not to mention the coach wanting to leave the team if that happens. The Timberwolves could potentially lose all their talented players and the coaching staff. This team is a complete disaster.