On the morning of September 19, Jimmy Butler had a meeting scheduled in Los Angeles with the front office of the Timberwolves to discuss the current state of the franchise and whether or not if they are the right fit for each other.
Not long after the meeting concluded, everybody with sports app notifications received a banner pop up on their screen revealing that Jimmy demanded a trade in the meeting, which raises a plethora of questions. Why would he determine that this was the right move to make? Why wait until a week prior to training camp? These are the questions that the people need answers to.
After the reports of the trade request flooded sports media, details ensued, but not before shade could be thrown towards Butler by teammate Andrew Wiggins’ brother Nick Wiggins. In a tweet that has since been deleted, Nick Wiggins retweeted a report on the trade while making it known how happy he is to hear the news.
Jimmy responded to the tweet with a video posted to his story on instagram of him working out while stating “Hallelujah! Keep that same energy.”
The vast majority of the NBA realm assumed the trade request was due to contract talks falling through due to the Timberwolves inability to grant Butler with the contract he specifically requested although, it was later announced by Butler himself that the front office of the Wolves created that narrative. With that being said, as often as assumptions end up wrong, it was obvious the people were right to assume the rift occurred due to bad blood in the locker room.
Andrew Wiggins, along with young star Karl-Anthony Towns, have been notably criticized by Butler with allegations against their work ethic and desire to win games during the course of last season. Through reports, it was made clear that Jimmy Butler always found Andrew Wiggins to be noticeably lazy on the court, especially on the defensive end. Jimmy also has criticized Karl-Anthony Towns about where his priorities lie after a video was posted on social media of him playing the video game Fortnite late at night despite having a game the next day.
While Jimmy’s isn’t necessarily wrong, it may have been extreme considering that we are witnessing an entirely different breed of men in the NBA than we’re used to. The vast majority of players in today’s league are in shamelessly tune with the child within them (as most people within the younger generations nowadays are in general). They spend their off time going paintball shooting, playing video games, jet-ski riding, and all things of that nature. With the Timberwolves being as youthful as they come, it was imperative for Tom Thibodeau to bring a player with the mentality that Jimmy Butler possesses to the team in an effort to instill that same mentality in the young stars. However, things have not gone as planned due to the unwillingness of the Wolves’ young core to want to work harder for their veteran leader in Jimmy Butler as well as Jimmy possibly being too hard on them in an effort to instill the above-mentioned killer mentality in Wiggins and Towns.
Nevertheless, Coach Thibs had many opportunities to be the builder of the bridge that could have brought Jimmy and the young Wolves’ stars to a better understanding of where each side stands and what needs to be done to pursue all of their goals successfully. It seems as if Thibs thinks the Wolves will figure out a way to win solely based off of their talent and that alone will solve the locker room issues that have been transpiring since Jimmy’s arrival.
Now, after the trade demand, Coach Thibs feels his well-padded coaching seat grow hotter and hotter each day. Initially, he opposed trading Jimmy…until owner Glen Taylor made it known to the other owners across the league that Jimmy is indeed available for trade. Still, Thibs is aiming to do whatever he can to convince Jimmy to remain in Minnesota. On Monday, he met with Butler again in an effort to persuade him to stay with the team or at least show up to training camp next week if he is not traded by then. Jimmy is standing his ground and if he is not traded sooner rather than later, expect the Wolves to part ways with their GM and Head Coach in Tom Thibodeau.
Initially, Jimmy had three preferred teams to be traded to; the Knicks, Nets, or Clippers. The Knicks immediately made it known they are not interested in taking a risk trading for a player that has a ton of mileage and now knee issues due to Thibs’ habit of giving his players a ton of minutes night in and night out. They’d rather wait and see if they can grab him in free agency next off season. Butler is reportedly being sought out by a dozen teams including the Clippers and Nets. Trade talks have been a constant occurrence between the Wolves and almost half the league although in this case, it does not seem like any traction has been made with any team as of now. Hopefully, for the sake of the Wolves’ locker room, Jimmy is traded ASAP to a team with players that at least come close to his work ethic (not likely) otherwise we may witness Jimmy falling through with yet another team for the same reasons. Stay tuned…