After their big win on the road against the 76ers, the Minnesota Timberwolves will be returning home to Target Center to take on the Miami Heat on Monday night. When they do, they won’t have the opportunity to match up with one familiar face: former Timberwolves player Jimmy Butler.
Butler is set to miss the contest with his old team due to a knee injury, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. It will be the third game against the Timberwolves that he’s missed since leaving the team.
Of course, nearly every Minnesota fan is familiar with the history between Butler and the Timberwolves franchise. Jimmy Butler played for the Timberwolves during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 NBA seasons, before he was eventually traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in November 2018.
But he didn’t exactly end his time with the franchise in the most ceremonious of ways. Butler infamously challenged his teammates and the team’s ownership during an October 2018 practice, dominating the team scrimmage while playing alongside bench players.
He then proceeded to storm out of the practice at its conclusion while telling then-General Manager Scott Layden that the Timberwolves needed him and couldn’t win without him. This moment was presumably what became the beginning of the end for Butler’s time in Minnesota.
Jimmy Butler has been on Minnesota Timberwolves fans’ list since 2018 departure
There aren’t a lot of players that Minnesota Timberwolves fans universally dislike, but Jimmy Butler has to be near the top of the list. Since his departure, Butler has been met with mostly boos and disapproval when he’s returned to Target Center.
But for Timberwolves fans, it’s satisfying to know that Butler hasn’t had much success against his former team since leaving Minnesota. Jimmy Butler holds a 3-3 record against the Timberwolves since leaving the Twin Cities, and just a 1-3 record since joining the Heat.
Since the start of the 2019-20 season when Butler made the move to Miami, the Heat hold a 1-5 record against the Timberwolves overall, including the two games that Butler missed in 2020 and 2022. There is no doubt that Minnesota has had Miami’s number over the last several seasons.
So it will be disappointing for Timberwolves fans not to have a chance to boo and cheer against one of their biggest adversaries on Monday night. Every time Minnesota defeats Butler and the Heat, it just feels like retribution for how things went down at the start of the 2018-19 season.