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October 18, 2017 | 9:56 am EDT Update
“Then last year it went to: I was being pushed out. There were things being said about me that I didn’t know where they were coming from. And I still had to go in that gym and play and practice and deal with the media, answer all those questions every day.” Asked how many times he and Jackson spoke face to face last season, Anthony said, “Maybe twice.” “There was no support from the organization,” he said. “When you feel like you’re on your own and then on top of that you feel like you’re being pushed out …”
There were only six players left on the court a few minutes after Timberwolves practice ended on Oct. 10. Players were quick to leave the facility the day after landing back in Minneapolis after a 16-hour return trip from China that completed an 18-day trip to open training camp. But those six who stayed on the court refused to leave. They went on to play a series of one-on-one contests that lasted more than an hour. There was Melo Trimble, Amile Jefferson, Anthony Brown and Marcus Georges-Hunt — four young guys with no guarantee of making Minnesota’s 15-man roster, all trying to get in any extra work possible and maybe make a good impression on the right person in hopes of earning a roster spot. The fifth player was ageless veteran Jamal Crawford. The sixth? Jimmy Butler, the Wolves’ new All-NBA wing, one of the best two-way players in the world, whom Minnesota acquired via a draft-night trade with Chicago this summer.
“I’ll go hit the gym tonight,” Butler said after that Oct. 10 practice. “I love this. Damn. I’m so fortunate and happy that I get to play basketball every day. And I don’t know what else to do, like it’s crazy. I’m up there with (Thibodeau). He just don’t leave the office. I leave the office, but I go home and work. I’ve got weights at the house, we got a gym right there. I’m working. I’m on you, Thibs, I’m on your tail.”
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