Butler showed up to the team’s shootaround on Wednesday morning, but did not participate, sources said. After the session was over, he had a brief conversation with coach and president Tom Thibodeau about his decision and declined interview requests.
Butler and his representative continue to express frustration in what they believe is Minnesota's inaction in honoring Butler's trade request, and they have been pushing owner Glen Taylor to speed up the process, sources said.
Rachel Nichols: Spoke to Jimmy Butler, who told me he plans to sit out of tonight's Wolves game "because my body is hurting" after he missed nearly all of training camp. He said he doesn't want to see any soreness escalate into injury as he continues to seek resolution to his situation with Minnesota. He strongly pushed back on any idea he is sitting out tonight as a protest and confirmed Adrian Wojnarowski's report that plans to fly with the team to Oakland and play against Golden State. He said he plans to be in the arena for tonight's game as well.
Jace Frederick: Got a couple comments from Jimmy Butler’s agent, Bernie Lee, on this morning’s developments. First, I asked if Butler sitting out today is part of a push to get out of Minnesota: "I can only speak to the 1st part of your question as I am unaware what you are referring to with the 2nd part. Jimmy is sitting tonight as part of a mutually agreed upon protocol of scheduled rest when appropriate. So Jimmy's job today is to get as much rest as he possibly can, his job on Monday was to do everything he possibly could to help Minnesota win a game. Youve been around Jimmy for over a year now correct me if I am wrong but I would think you've picked up by now that he is a extremely focused person and one thing that can never and will never be questioned about him is his commitment to doing his job"
Jace Frederick: Also asked Jimmy Butler’s agent, Bernie Lee, if — If Butler is still on the roster — will Jimmy play on the road trip? "Again, I am unsure what you are referring to big picture wise but Jimmy's approach this year has been to approach every day as a singular event and deal with what is appropriate within that day and I think his actions has displayed that. Presently there are no long term plans to deviate from this plan in any way. We continue to communicate with the organization daily, and Jimmy has been very clear in the commitments he has made to the organization and Mr Taylor and he has lived up to them and they have been very clear in return to him, we remain committed to the same things in the very same ways."
Jimmy Butler is not playing in the Timberwolves’ game on Wednesday night against Utah, the latest step in a six-week standoff between the disgruntled All-Star and the team that has not yet granted his wish to be traded, league sources told The Athletic. Butler showed up to the team’s shootaround on Wednesday morning, but did not participate, sources said. After the session was over, he had a brief conversation with coach and president Tom Thibodeau about his decision and declined interview requests.
Shams Charania: Jimmy Butler is taking next step in six-week-long process aimed at getting the All-Star out of Minnesota by sitting tonight against Utah, and could lead to extended absence for Butler, league sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Butler started contemplating not playing tonight on Tuesday, and the final decision was made Wednesday morning, sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Timberwolves termed it "general soreness and precautionary rest,” but Butler informed Tom Thibodeau of his decision.
As the Minnesota Timberwolves remain stagnant in trade talks, All-Star forward Jimmy Butler has expressed an intention to join the team on its trip to Golden State for Friday night's game, league sources told ESPN. Butler will miss Wednesday's home game against Utah for what the team is calling "general soreness and precautionary rest."
There's a belief within the Timberwolves that Butler could target specific games to sit out, trying to force a trade, league sources said. Sources familiar with Butler's thinking don't believe he wants to sit out high-profile games against Golden State and Los Angeles. The Timberwolves play the Clippers and Lakers next week at Staples Center, and Butler considers the Clippers one of his top free agent destinations, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: The Timberwolves suggested that Jimmy Butler rest vs. Utah tonight and there’s an expectation that he will join the team on flight to Bay Area to play Golden State on Friday. Teams talking to Minnesota about trades say that the asking price remains steep.
I’m not hugely surprised that the Wolves resisted Houston's trade offer last week of four future first-round picks for Butler, along with the contracts of Brandon Knight and Marquess Chriss. The stated reason was that the Rockets' latest proposal features zero players who can help Minnesota immediately, but the biggest factor was presumably this: Minnesota’s owner, Glen Taylor, and Coach Tom Thibodeau are in strong agreement about not wanting to surrender Butler to the Rockets and set them up with a third elite player alongside James Harden and Chris Paul.
There have been steady rumbles around the league in recent days that the 76ers will ultimately give the Heat some competition in the Butler Sweepstakes, after it appeared for the longest time that Miami was the only team seriously interested in trading for Butler before he becomes a free agent. Let's see.
Zach Lowe: "Is there anything cooking [on the Jimmy Butler front]? Are we ever gonna see the end of this saga?" Adrian Wojnarowski: "With Minnesota, some teams believe they are really sincere in trying to get a deal done, and some feel like it's a little bit of a shell game at times. I think that the [worse they play]... that's probably going to speed up a conclusion to this. ... I don't think that this is gonna last until - I would be shocked if [Butler] was there on Thanksgiving. It just feels like this is gonna be sooner."
He hit up Jimmy Butler. “We talked for about 40 minutes on FaceTime,” Crowder told the Deseret News. Once the news broke of Butler’s trade saga with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Crowder had to check on his former Marquette University teammate to make sure things were OK with him. “He knows it’s unfair, I know it’s unfair and players know it’s unfair, but at the same time it’s nothing you really can do besides state what you said,” Crowder said of Butler. “I talked to him and he knows that. You can only just play at the end of the day and hopefully the guys in the locker room who you go to war with at night will understand.”
Butler’s name is still involved in frequent trade rumors, but it doesn't seem to be affecting his on-court production as he’s averaging 22.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.0 steals through the first seven games. “It’s really out of your hands with the media and what the perception is to the world, but hopefully the guys in the locker room will understand where you’re coming from and how you feel because that’s what really counts and really matters,” Crowder said.
Jon Krawczynski: Some boos, some cheers for Jimmy Butler. Lots of boos, no cheers for Tom Thibodeau. (The Wolves are at home)
Adrian Wojnarowski: "Houston, to me, is the one team in this entire process, the only team in this process, who can rightly believe, 'If we trade for Jimmy Butler, we think he helps us win a championship this year.' There's not another team who can say that who's really involved in this. The one team that has been on the periphery, and I still think could be heard from in this, is Philadelphia. Because I think they're a little like Houston right now in that they're evaluating themselves and they're saying, 'Not only are not sure we didn't improve from last year, I'm not sure we'll even be the same team.'"
Adrian Wojnarowski: "I still think Philadelphia may be heard from again in this, and Miami, I don't think they've given up on the idea of Jimmy Butler, but Houston is the one team who says, 'OK, we want to win it, this is our window, it's in the next couple of years, and right now we're probably not good enough to do it.'"
Taylor has tasked general manager Scott Layden with the focus of finding a trade, as Thibodeau concentrates on coaching the team. Miami and Philadelphia remain teams interested in potential deals for Butler, and Taylor has hoped that those teams would become more aggressive in their offers to pry Butler, league sources said.
Houston has offered four future first-round picks to Minnesota, but that package doesn't include guard Eric Gordon, who'd be mandatory for Minnesota in any proposed deal, league sources said. Thibodeau wants a maximum return on players able to help Minnesota get back to the playoffs.
Butler downplayed any part of the off-court rumors affecting the team right now and said there is no drama. "I don't consider anything drama," Butler said. "I consider it business. It's part of it. I think everybody still wants to win, man. We had an off night. But if we win, everything's OK, everything's fine. You wouldn't be asking me the same question."
Ira Winderman: Tom Thibodeau, at Minnesota shootaround today, on trade proposals for Jimmy Butler, "You just got to do what's right. To me, it's like, If something is a good deal and you think you're getting good value, you have to do what's right for the franchise."
Shams Charania: Minnesota is showing no inclination to move on Houston offer of two injured players and four first-rounders for Jimmy Butler, per sources. On @WatchStadium: pic.twitter.com/NnXkMwXd9N
Jon Krawczynski: Still no indication wolves are close to saying yes to any offers. Things can change quickly, of course. But wolves have been holding firm and that hasn’t changed
The Rockets' offer constitutes the maximum number of first-round picks allowable in a deal, factoring in league rules that necessitate no first-rounders can be conveyed in successive years, and no pick can be traded farther out than seven seasons. The lottery protections on picks in this proposed deal would be limited. Discussions on the players involved in the Minnesota-Houston talks remain fluid, league sources said.
So far, Minnesota has been unmoved on offers for Butler, who requested a trade in the preseason and has told the organization that he plans to leave in free agency this summer. The Rockets would be trading for Butler with a strong desire to re-sign him this summer to a long-term contract extension. Butler, 29, plans to become an unrestricted free agent.
Bobby Marks: 7-year rule allows a team to trade up to 4 picks between 2019 to 2025. The first has to alternate each year (19, 21, 23 and 25) and cannot have protection unless the pick does not rollover to the following season. Ex: Protected top 14 and doesn’t convey if HOU is in the lottery.
Zach Lowe: Note going into the story -- Oct. 31 could be a key date here, league sources say. That's the 2-month anniversary of the Chriss/Knight trade, meaning HOU would be free to aggregate them into larger trades.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Story posting soon: The Houston Rockets are making a renewed bid to acquire Minnesota All-Star Jimmy Butler, including four future first-round draft picks in their most recent trade offer, league sources tell ESPN.
Sam Amick: “I still feel like the pressure that comes with a season - if I had to pick one side or the other, I would probably say he gets moved somewhere before the deadline. Because for the T-Wolves, you run into the thing where losing a guy like that for nothing is tough. Glen Taylor, eventually, has to go get through Tom Thibodeau and just be the owner and realize if you lose an asset for nothing, that's a terrible way to do business."
Jeff Goodman: "If you were a betting man, are you betting Jimmy Butler stays with Minnesota for the year? Until the trade deadline? What's your take on the whole situation? Do you have any info that would give people some insight to people on where he could end up now? I know the Miami thing was heavy and it kind of appears dead now." Sam Amick: "It is dead right now, by all indications.”
Sam Amick: "And then on the other side of that, you're just gonna have teams like Miami and Houston, who are gonna realize they need a little more. Houston's getting off to a tough start, and now these suspensions, it's even worse. So what does that look like down the line, if their record, if they're scuffling? This is a team, in terms of expectations, they are the ones talking about, 'We're the No. 1 contenders for the crown.' That's how they're talking. That's a pretty high bar. So maybe it's Houston putting more on the table than they had before. Maybe it's Miami."
Alex Kennedy: According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, in addition to the Miami Heat, the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks are interested in Jimmy Butler. In this snippet from our weekend podcast (audioboom.com/posts/7053994-…), Brian explains why a trade hasn't happened yet: pic.twitter.com/2boyDTn5zP
Jimmy Butler: “you either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” - Harvey Dent
Gery Woelfel: NBA teams aren't exactly blowing away Minnesota officials with offers for ex-Marquette standout Jimmy Butler, Sources say the Heat offered Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk and a protected first-round pick. Twolves wisely took a pass.
Google the name Jimmy Butler and you're likely to come across Richardson's name as well, the two linked in the Minnesota Timberwolves' efforts to attempt to trade their disgruntled All-Star guard. "It's a business," Richardson said during a private moment. "It is what it is. It's a cutthroat business. I know that. I can't get too up or too down about situations like that."
"For like the first hour, I was hearing from everyone," he said of when his name initially was reported as the Timberwolves' trade focus. "But after that, it is what it is. I don't get too much into it. When it first came out a little bit, yeah, it was hard to ignore."
Nichols said she spoke with Butler during training camp about when he might want to talk publicly. “Honestly, at one point when it looked like things were going a certain way with Minnesota, Jimmy was in Los Angeles for a week and we thought he was going to come and be on the show,” she said. “That was the original plan, to come to the studio and be on the show and we had the beginnings of that setup. Then the trade conversations with Miami heated up and he and his agent —and this was smart on their part — thought Jimmy randomly going on TV and talking about stuff might not be the smartest thing.”
“As those days went by there was the casual, ‘Hey, are you going to go back to practice? Are you going to do media? What are you going to do?’” Nichols said. “The day before (his first practice), at 7 p.m. at night was one of those conversations. We learned that he’s ready to go back, he’s going to go to practice, he wants to talk. But as a lot of these guys do, if they want to say something complicated …. doing it in a scrum environment where you are leaning up against a wall and there are 10 cameras in your face and people are asking you questions where one question does not necessarily follow another question in terms of topic, or you start an answer and get interrupted or sidetracked, maybe you don’t say the whole thing that you wanted to say. I think a lot of athletes feel that sitting down and having an interview is the way they want to get that stuff out first.”
On the issue of whether she felt at all used by Butler’s camp as part of a media strategy, Nichols said, “When is it bad to have somebody get out what they think and what is going on with them? I think within the interview if people are not held accountable, that is when you have a problem, if the interview becomes fluffy. I have done a bunch of interviews lately including one with Anthony Davis where he came out in the opening answer and said, ‘I think I am the best player in the league,’ and he gives his general answer about why he thinks he is the best player in the NBA. I could have just let that pass. Instead, I said, ‘You want to tell me why you think you are better than LeBron James or Kevin Durant?’ If within the interview you don’t hold people accountable, that is where you can ask is someone using you to get their message (out).”
Just days before the start of the season, Pat Riley addressed the Jimmy Butler trade rumors with Heat players in a team meeting. According to a team spokesman, Riley acknowledged the trade discussions and apologized for players’ names surfacing in rumors. The message was, “I’m pulling the plug,” after talks continued for too long, but there was no guarantee that a trade will not happen down the road.
A Heat source said last week that Miami would not go back to Minnesota to re-start talks, but would not rule out a trade if Minnesota reaches out to them.
“It calms you down, for sure, a little bit,” point guard Goran Dragic said of the meeting. “Of course, everybody is talking, including me. I just want to focus on my job. But deep down, it affects you a little bit. I want to stay here. I like it, really. So when Pat came after practice and sat us down and we had a small meeting, he told us that and you can feel a little bit of relief. But that doesn’t mean, in the near future it can’t happen. So we still need to do our job. We still need to be professionals.”
Ira Winderman: Heat confirm that Pat Riley addressed his players about Jimmy Butler trade rumors and told them, "I'm pulling the plug." But he did not tell them anything about standing by his young players. Rather, made them aware of process.
For now, Minnesota’s talks with teams around the NBA are mostly dormant, league sources told The Athletic. The Miami Heat have long been the most aggressive team pursuing Butler, having advantages with a young, promising wing in Josh Richardson, being a team not in Minnesota’s conference and holding other assets to add in a package. Yet days before their own season opener Wednesday, Miami president Pat Riley had informed his locker room that the team would stick with the current roster to start the season and the loyalty the organization has for their current players, league sources said.
Timberwolves coach/executive Tom Thibodeau raised the asking price for Jimmy Butler in trade talks after last week’s infamous practice incident, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on today’s edition of “The Jump.” The ESPN scribe adds that Thibodeau feels like he came away victorious in his struggle with owner Glen Taylor because Butler remains on the team and will play in tonight’s opener. “This is exactly what Tom Thibodeau wanted, which was him in the lineup on opening night,” Wojnarowski said. “The day that Jimmy came back and practiced, Thibs won. He waited out his owner, he waited out Jimmy, got him back on the court.”
A disconnect between his desires and those of owner Glen Taylor, who wants to grant Butler’s trade request? “Great, great,” Thibodeau said of his communication with Taylor through this process. “The one thing about Glen is we probably talk, he, Scott and I, probably three or four times a day. It’s been clear that we’re always going to try to do what’s best for our team.”
Butler said he made it be known early in the offseason that he was not long for Minnesota. Rather than take the Spurs approach of dealing their star at a time when the market was hottest, Thibodeau essentially decided he was going to go the Lakers route. Kobe Bryant requested a trade at one point, but the Lakers never gave in, made some roster moves and convinced him to stay.
ESPN 99.1: .@Jon Krawczynski on Jimmy Butler: "Miami has certainly been the most aggressive in getting him. Think HOU will be in for a while. BRO/PHI maybe come back into it. Hard to handicap it, but odds in favor of him landing in Miami"
In an expansive interview with Glen Taylor on Tuesday, the Timberwolves owner said he has reached an understanding with four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler and will continue trying to trade him.
“The latest is he is going to be going to practice every day, which he has been, and plans to play in games,” said Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune. “He will be a regular team player. What I said to him in the meantime is our GM, Scott Layden, will be talking to other teams to see if there is a trade that works.”
Is Taylor committed to trading Butler? “Yes I think that he’s made it very clear that he would not re-sign with us at the end of the year and therefore it is in our interest to get a trade so that we can get a player or two to replace him that helps our team.”
Thibodeau has three years left on his five-year that deal that was worth about $40 million. Is he coaching for his job? “No, no, the only thing now is that we are starting to play games and I am asking him to concentrate on coaching and the GM Scott Layden will help to see if any trades are available,” Taylor said.
Q: Will Jimmy Butler ever get traded? I’m starting to feel bad for the guy. — @codylaws2 from Twitter. Marc Stein: I remain convinced that, yes, Butler will be traded — somehow. Things have gotten so farcical just since our last newsletter that the Timberwolves surely understand, deep down, that trying to hang onto Butler for a little longer, like the Denver Nuggets did with Carmelo Anthony in 2010 after a trade with the Nets collapsed shortly before training camp, is doomed to flop in the Twin Cities. Unless Wolves management are intent on emasculating their young cornerstones Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to an even more damaging degree than we’ve already seen, I would suspect that, at some stage, Minnesota Owner Glen Taylor will realize that the wisest course is to direct his coach and team president, Tom Thibodeau, to focus all his energies on prioritizing the two players whose long-term contracts are valued at nearly $340 million combined.
Marc Stein: Although I still can’t believe that the Wolves didn’t jump on the Heat’s offer headlined by the promising Josh Richardson, Miami continues to be the most likely Butler destination. Yet I must note that rumbles persist about Houston maintaining serious interest in trying to concoct a workable deal structure that convinces the Timberwolves to surrender their All-Star swingman — even though you hear over and over that Minnesota wants to send him East if it sends Butler anywhere, to avoid helping the Rockets establish their own superteam.
But the Warriors won't have four in-their-prime stars forever. Chris Paul is 33. Towns has a chance to be the most versatile scoring big man in history. You're gonna leave that dude to go to Miami and play with ... who? You're gonna move to Brooklyn, even though Irving scuttled the dream of teaming up there? Philly would be a different story, and Butler has eyes for them, sources familiar with the matter say. The Sixers have expressed almost no interest in trading for him, sources say. There is some theoretical road map to a Clippers team-up with Leonard.
This isn't to say Minnesota is blameless. Tom Thibodeau, Scott Layden, and Glen Taylor watched their team culture erode and did nothing, assuming it would repair itself. Taylor and the front office have sent contradictory messages to Butler suitors, sometimes within minutes of each other, league sources have said.
Three days before the start of the regular season, Taylor met with his disgruntled All-Star before practice, searching for some sort of understanding to calm the noise that has drowned out any sense of excitement for the upcoming season. In the meeting, Taylor and Butler came to an agreement, sources said: Taylor will continue to work diligently to find a trade as soon as possible. Until that happens, Butler will be a good teammate and play as hard as he always does.
There may have been some sort of accord reached, but the situation is “fluid,” as Thibodeau likes to call it, and could change at a moment’s notice. One thing was certain: Butler wasn’t walking anything back. Speaking carefully, and occasionally coyly, to avoid breaking any league rules about publicly discussing trade requests, Butler said there has been no change in his stance and no second thoughts about how he has handled things.
“I should have left out the cuss words. That’s it,” Butler said. “It was the same type of energy today (as Wednesday), they just didn’t tell you all. Whoever told you all didn’t tell you all. The league sources didn’t tell you.”
Christopher Hine: Can confirm what @ Jon Krawczynski first reported that owner Glen Taylor and Jimmy Butler met today and Taylor said the team will continue to look for a trade for Butler and honor his trade request, and Butler will play while he’s still a member of the Wolves.
Barry Jackson: Per The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski:, Wolves owner Glen Taylor and Jimmy Butler "came to an agreement" Sunday that "Taylor will continue to work diligently to find a trade as soon as possible. Until that happens, Butler will be a good teammate and play as hard as he always does."
Ira Winderman: Pat Riley statement: "As to what has been reported in the past 24 hours, I have too much respect for Tom Thibodeau and all that he's accomplished in the league. Our conversations have been nothing but cordial and I have never used that kind of language in negotiations. But I do admit to telling Danny Ainge to . . ." (That reference to his "STFU" quote during the LeBron Era.)
Paul George, no stranger to uncomfortable situations with NBA management, said on Friday he's spoken with Jimmy Butler about what's happening in Minnesota and is firmly on his side. "Jimmy has a very valid point," George said. "I'm on Jimmy's side. It's not coming from a place where he's going against an organization."
"Jimmy's a guy, his whole career, he made it into the league off work, off him having to grind and scratch and claw to get to where he's at," George said. "And then he sees the potential he has around him and he just wants guys to match that because if guys are skilled and have that 'it' like KAT (Karl-Anthony Towns) has, like Andrew Wiggins has, they have that 'it' that a lot of guys don't have, now they just have to match it with what Jimmy's bringing to the table. I'm all for what Jimmy is trying to do over there."
George said he talked to Butler "a little bit" and that Butler's demonstrative behavior is "not coming from a bad place." "He wants the best for that organization and is trying to bring out everything for that organization to get to where they want to get to," George said.
An NBA source familiar with the Miami Heat's involvement in trade negotiations with the Minnesota Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler on Friday downplayed a report of contentiousness. The Heat, according to a source familiar with the dealings, "are not trying to re-engage" in the talks. The process, however, seemingly remains fluid in light of Butler's recent behavior and comments.
"So they finally relented on Josh Richardson, they were giving them Josh Richardson. Then Dion Waiters was going to be the cap filler, and then a protected first-round pick. The medicals were exchanged, which, really, generally in the NBA means this is a done deal. And then, Thibs called back and wanted more picks. And Pat Riley literally -- I was told -- called him a motherbleeper and hung up the phone." A NBA source familiar with the Heat's dealings with the Timberwolves said Riley insists he did not offer such a reaction.
The Heat do not publicly comment on trade negotiations and numerous times since Butler's trade request became public three weeks ago have, through their media-relations department, stressed that players, coaches and team officials would not be made available to comment on the matter. The Heat, according to a source familiar with the dealings, "are not trying to re-engage" in the talks. The process, however, seemingly remains fluid in light of Butler's recent behavior and comments.
Eric Nehm: Thibs: Jimmy (Butler) is in Minneapolis conditioning. Do you expect him for the start of the regular season? Thibs: The situation remains fluid.
Here’s the audio from Sedano’s ESPN Los Angeles radio show today, in which he describes the almost-trade between the Heat and the Wolves: Here it is transcribed: There’s been a couple of different incarnations of this deal. The first one, the Heat didn’t want to take back Gorgui Dieng. Then, the next incarnation of the deal was ‘OK forget it, let’s just do it straight up, just for Jimmy on your end.’ They finally relented on Josh Richardson, they were giving them Josh Richardson, then Dion Waiters was going to be the cap filler, and then a protected first-round pick. The medicals were exchanged, which generally in the NBA means this is a done deal. And then, Thibs called back and wanted more picks. And Pat Riley literally—I was told—called him a motherbleeper and hung up the phone.
Shams Charania: Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler called a players-only meeting today, airing his feelings toward situation and management, per league sources. Butler expressed to players he would compete with them, as signs pointing to him staying with the franchise into the regular season.
Shams Charania: Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: Several players spoke up in players-only meeting, but Butler led it, made known his issues with management. His message was similar to one he displayed Wednesday: I run this. He's far too competitive to sit real games.
Jimmy Butler walked into practice on Wednesday in time for the scrimmage to start. He had not been on the court with his Timberwolves teammates since Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against Houston in April, but it didn’t take him long to take over, just like old times. “Y’all better hurry up,” Butler woofed, according to three people in the gym at the time. “I’m only here for an hour.”
He jumped into the fray, grabbing several members of the third team such as Luol Deng, James Nunnally and two-way player Jared Terrell to go against Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and some of the higher-profile Wolves players. He challenged them, like he has so often since he first came to town. He talked trash to the young Wolves and the old Wolves, spewed venom toward head coach Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden, as ESPN first reported.
“I run this shit,” Butler howled, according to several people in the practice facility. Some players laughed. Jimmy being Jimmy. Others in the building were concerned, wondering how Thibodeau and Layden could stand for that kind of conduct, sources said.
In a meeting on Monday, Butler told Thibodeau this is how it would go, sources said. He wasn’t going to sit by and be quiet and have his desires ignored. Butler had also made clear that he wanted to sit down to discuss several issues with Towns, including the timing of his contract signing, as a means to challenge the young center about being up front and honest, league sources said. It is unclear if that meeting has taken place.
I agree with Britt that the wise move would be to pay him to stay away from the team. But before Wednesday, Thibs clearly didn’t believe that his presence in the locker room and on the court would be a problem.
There was insight sought from a Chicago media person who had watched Butler from the start of his career. The suggestion was that Jimmy came into the league driven by his underdog status, and that changed a few years later when he started hanging out with Wahlberg and seeing himself as a star.
Darren Wolfson: Told Butler is breaking his silence right now in a sit-down with ESPN. Interview to air tonight. #Twolves
Adrian Wojnarowski: After talks fell apart over weekend, Miami's still pursuing discussions with Minnesota on a Jimmy Butler trade, sources tell ESPN. Butler has been in Timberwolves locker room with teammates this morning before practice, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll join them on floor.
While teams trying to deal with the Timberwolves as the Jimmy Butler saga drags have expressed frustration with the asking price — Miami’s offer was centered around solid, young two-way guard Josh Richardson and a draft pick, but the Wolves sought to add deadweight salary into the mix — there’s also a good deal of trepidation about acquiring Butler, league executives told Sporting News. "As good as Jimmy is, I think you have to be concerned about the impact he is going to have in the locker room, on your younger guys, on your coaching staff, all of that," one general manager said. "He has gotten the benefit of the doubt, but if you look at his history, he’s had trouble getting along in Chicago and now in Minnesota.
The Clippers have been in contact with the Wolves, too, but LA won’t include forward Tobias Harris in a deal. Instead, the Clippers have juggled offers that include Danilo Gallinari as the centerpiece, or some combination including guards Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic and others. "The Wolves want to get fair value on Jimmy, but that is not going to happen," one executive told Sporting News. "It’s not just that. If you’re the Nets or Clippers, you know you could sign the guy next summer without giving up anything. It’s also, is this the right fit with what we are doing? The Nets have been trying to build up a certain culture, but you add Butler and that dynamic changes.
Stefano Fusaro: Jimmy Butler update: According to a league source, The Wolves contacted the Rockets again Tuesday morning, after their failed deal with Miami this past weekend. Minnesota was still adamant on receiving Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker, but Houston will not put Tucker on the table.
Jimmy Butler has returned to Minnesota and reiterated his desire to be traded in a meeting with president and coach Tom Thibodeau on Monday, league sources told The Athletic. Barring a change in the dwindling trade market between now and the season opener in San Antonio on Oct. 17, the Timberwolves are making preparations to start the season with Butler on the roster, league sources said.
Butler has not practiced with the team since training camp opened on Sept. 25, just over a week after he first met with Thibodeau to personally deliver his trade request. He was at the facility on Monday, sources said. The Wolves have had conversations with a number of teams — most notably with the Miami Heat, who have discussed frameworks around the promising Josh Richardson — but have yet to close a deal.
Several teams around the league have privately questioned whether the Wolves are truly interested in finding a trade for a player that was the central figure in Thibodeau’s plans to rebuild the team. Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden have driven a hard bargain for their four-time All-Star, not wanting to give him up for pennies on the dollar and take a massive step back heading into a season that could be make-or-break for their regime.
Players have tired of the constant questions about Butler’s status. The cloud has hung over the franchise for three weeks now, and it’s clear that they have enough to worry about with their performances in the preseason. “It’s tough but you have to just circle the wagons like Thibs said,” Gibson said. “I’m just focusing right now on whoever is here because you have to understand we have a strong group of guys that come in here, put a lot of time and work in.
Teague has said Butler is a “good friend” but doesn’t want to get involved in what he has going on off the court. “I really don’t pay attention to much,” Teague said. “Just kind of stick to myself and do what I’m supposed to do. Stay out of everybody’s way and I just enjoy the process, I honestly do.”
That the talks collapsed twice in such a short span should be surprising to no one who has followed the Wolves throughout Taylor's quarter-century of ownership. The same Taylor who held onto Kevin Garnett and then-General Manager Kevin McHale for too long. Who allowed himself to be talked into hiring the thoroughly ill-prepared David Kahn as McHale's replacement. Who could have escaped his Butler nightmare by accepting a package from Miami that would have been headlined by the promising Heat swingman Josh Richardson and a protected first-round pick.
Numerous teams have complained in recent days that Thibodeau and Layden are acting like two men who really don’t want to make a deal. But that hasn’t stopped the Heat from engaging in numerous rounds of talks with the Wolves and presenting them with what appears to be a pretty palatable offer given Minnesota’s distinct lack of leverage. Miami, Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Clippers are the teams known to most interest Butler in the long-term. The fact that one of those three is willing to furnish a young player as highly rated as Richardson, along with a potential first-round pick, would enable the Wolves to recoup a good bit of what they gave up (Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the draft pick that became Lauri Markkanen) to acquire Butler.
July 27, 2021 | 11:06 am EDT Update
New York will pursue Evan Fournier in free agency and are considering making a push for Spencer Dinwiddie, according to sources. Dinwiddie declined his player option for $12.3 million with Brooklyn Nets to become an unrestricted free agent.
The Boston Celtics acquired Fournier from the Orlando Magic in March. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent. The French guard, who helped his native country upset the U.S. in the Olympics earlier this week, is expected to ask for around $18 million per season, while Dinwiddie’s asking price is $25 million per, sources say.
If they lose Ball and miss on Lowry, the Pelicans might be on the lookout for Spencer Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie is looking for big money; in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, he tossed out a five-year, $125 million contract as what he would be looking for to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets.
A reasonable number of these players are expected to move in August with potentially more being involved in trades. Collin Sexton of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves are among those who so far have been floated on the trade market.
Milwaukee Bucks guard Bryn Forbes is declining his player option for the 2021-22 season and will become an unrestricted free agent, sources told ESPN on Tuesday. Forbes played a significant role off the bench as the Bucks delivered the franchise’s first NBA championship in 50 years. He had his most efficient NBA season in several offensive categories, including 3-point percentage and true shooting percentage. Forbes, 28, was fourth in the NBA in 3-point shooting (45.2%) — and third best among players with 200-plus attempts. Forbes averaged 12.2 points on 48% 3-point shooting in February when starting guard Jrue Holiday was sidelined.
Davis suffered a knee sprain in Game 3 but played through the pain in Game 4; however, he took a hard fall in Game 4 and suffered a groin strain. From that moment on, the balance of the firepower tilted towards Phoenix, who ensued to blow out the Lakers in the final games of the series. Though it’ll never be known how things would’ve transpired with a healthy Davis, Metta World Peace believes the Lakers would’ve advanced when discussing his thoughts on the Bucks-Suns matchup and Giannis Antetokounmpo being a great player, via Chris Sheridan of BasketballNews.com: “Now imagine, Giannis, one of the greatest players in the league, doesn’t really have to go up against the greatest team, then you would say Giannis was going to win. Because the Lakers got hurt. The Lakers were going to beat Phoenix before Anthony Davis got hurt.”
The Dallas Mavericks are on the verge of hiring Igor Kokoskov to join Jason Kidd’s coaching staff, sources confirmed to ESPN. Kokoskov, whose two decades of NBA experience includes a one-season stint as the Phoenix Suns’ head coach, has a strong relationship with Mavs superstar Luka Doncic stemming from his time coaching the Slovenian national team. Kokoskov coached Slovenia for two years, culminating with the EuroBasket 2017 title, when Doncic and Goran Dragic led the nation to its first championship in that event.
Ahead of the 2021 NBA draft, projected top overall pick Cade Cunningham has signed a multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Nike. After a COVID-19-impacted market found a majority of last season’s rookies playing out the 2020-21 season without a sneaker deal, brands are now returning to aggressively sign top players heading into this week’s draft. Nike had its eyes set on Cunningham, who starred at Nike-sponsored Oklahoma State University and has long had an affinity for the brand. “More than anything, they show that athletes are more than just athletes,” Cunningham told ESPN. “They really put the right message out for people to see. That was important to me. … I felt like it was a perfect match for me.”