Despite plenty of reports that the Minnesota Timberwolves are comfortable keeping Jimmy Butler on the roster for quite some time, it appears as though they are still committed to moving the All-Star.
Who would have thought that a month after Jimmy Butler’s initial trade request that we’d still have to reiterate that the Minnesota Timberwolves remain committed to moving their All-Star wing.
Indeed, a month has passed and Butler remains on the Wolves’ roster. And not only that, the organization expects Butler to suit up and play in Wednesday’s season opener, despite missing training camp, not playing in a single preseason game, and only practicing with the team twice.
But now, Wolves fans are receiving assurances that their favorite club remains intent on moving Butler, despite all the evidence to the contrary, including head coach Tom Thibodeau’s apparent comfort with allowing this awkward and irresponsible situation to fester well into the regular season.
First, The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski reported (subscription needed) that owner Glen Taylor not only came up to the Twin Cities to observe Sunday’s practice, but that he also met face-to-face with Butler prior to the team taking the court.
Apparently, Butler and Taylor reached an agreement that Taylor and the front office would “continue to work diligently to find a trade”. What remains to be seen is whether or not Taylor and his basketball operations team, headed up by Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden, are collectively on the same page.
Early on Monday, Sam Amico of Amico Hoops reported that the Wolves are still aiming to trade Butler before they begin regular season play, although “no deal centered on Butler is close”.
In short, there isn’t much new here, except for that the Wolves are clearly trying to make it clear that they aren’t just rolling over and letting Butler destroy the team’s chemistry even further from the inside. The damage is largely already done, of course, but it’s fairly obvious what Taylor and Co. are trying to accomplish.
It certainly seems unlikely that anything comes together in short enough order to dress any of their new players for Wednesday’s opener, but you can bet that Taylor is trying to avoid what will surely be an ugly scene during Friday’s home opener.
Butler will not be received well by the home crowd, and that’s when this nebulous pall hanging over the team becomes real, in the form of opening night boos.