What a day in the NBA. Technically, it’s the preseason, but I’m still considering this the offseason. Without a doubt, the NBA offseason is the most entertaining offseason in professional sports. From free agency to trade rumors, the drama off the court easily surpasses the action on the court. Today, fans were given a treat as the Jimmy Butler saga with the Minnesota Timberwolves went from 0 to 100 real quick.
If you haven’t been following the NBA the past few weeks, the rumors have been that Butler wants out of Minnesota. Once last season ended, stories about how Butler didn’t mesh with Karl Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and coach Tom Thibodeau. Fast forward to three weeks ago when a report surfaced that Butler requested a trade. Butler is in the last year of his deal and will want a max contract at the end of the year, so if he does not fit in Minnesota, Butler wants to be sent to a team that can pay him like the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, or Miami Heat. Because of that report, Butler has did not report to the start of training.
That all changed today when all hell broke loose. According to reports, Butler showed up to training camp late today and subbed himself in on the third team to face the starters, which included Towns and Wiggins. Then, the wheels came off.
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
— ESPN (@espn) October 10, 2018
"All my emotion came out at one time."
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 10, 2018
— ESPN (@espn) October 10, 2018
From Yahoo – “At one point, Butler found himself guarding Towns in the post. After Towns received the entry pass, Butler yelled, “He can’t do [expletive] against me!” Towns ended up passing the ball out, sources said.”
Live look at me right now.
— Dan Girolamo (@Danny_Giro) October 10, 2018
Holy dysfunction. I would’ve paid pay-per-view money to watch that scrimmage. I’m praying that a camera picked up some of the action. Just imagine KAT calling out anyone on the team to stop him, Butler accepting the challenge, and KAT passed back out. That’s a very bad look for KAT. Then again, would you want to go against Butler in sicko mode? I know I would pass it right back out, but I also didn’t just receive a max contract.
What’s Next for Butler
After all the dust has settled, who do you side with, Jimmy Butler or the T-wolves? I’m here to tell you that I’m siding with Butler. I’m ok with 80% of the things he did today. Let’s start with the 20% I didn’t like. If you’re trying to receive a max contract from a team or look like an attractive trading option, you can’t scream at the front office saying, “You f***ing need me. You can’t win without me.” You’re placing yourself before the team. That doesn’t exactly scream good teammate material.
That being said, I gained a lot of respect from Butler after that interview. When healthy, Butler is a top 20 player and a top 5 two-way player. He’s been in tough playoff battles with the Bulls. Butler knows what it takes to win in the NBA. He’s an emotional player, and it clearly showed in the interview. However, there was a purpose for his outburst. In the interview, Butler complimented Towns, calling him the best player on the team, and Wiggins, saying he had the most God-given talent. For whatever reason, it hasn’t panned out in Minnesota yet. So today, Butler called out the two best young players and challenged them. Minnesota is in dire need of some toughness, and maybe Butler’s outburst was a wakeup call. Calling out the GM is not the way to go, but battling in practice and showing the young guys what playing hard truly means is more than ok with me.
The right move is to trade Butler, but if drama like this is going to happen all season, as a fan, keep Butler in Minnesota and get ready for some five round fights.