The Minnesota Timberwolves are having such a bad day today. It started with Jimmy Butler showing up late to practice, subbing himself into five-on-five scrimmages, and taking a gigantic shit on basically every central figure in the organization—Tom Thibodeau, Scott Layden, Andrew Wiggins, and especially Karl-Anthony Towns. It has since gotten worse!
Butler reportedly walked out of practice without participating in team stretching, and walked almost directly into a one-on-one interview with Rachel Nichols, which wrapped up in time to air at the start of 6 p.m. SportsCenter. Impressive that such a thing could be pulled off without meticulous coordination!
Butler is turning up the heat on the Timberwolves to make a deal, which is both funny and fine, but here he also comes across as a sausage-brained Serious Sporting Man:
“I haven’t played basketball in so long, and I’m so passionate, and I love the game, and I don’t do it for any other reason except to compete, and go up against the best to try to prove that I can hang. So all my emotion came out at one time. Was it the right way to do it? No! But I can’t control that when I’m out there competing. That’s my love of the game. That’s raw me. Me at my finest, me at my purist. That’s what you’re gonna get, inside the lines.”
I, a true basketball lover, cannot help myself. Is it good? No! But is it not not good? Yes. It is becoming clear that Butler’s particular brand of scenery-chewing “leadership” is least compatible with the temperament of young Karl-Anthony Towns. Butler reportedly shared a “hand dap” with Wiggins—another of his reported targets—after practice, but then called Towns out by name while giving his description of Wednesday’s confrontational practice to Nichols:
Meanwhile, peripheral Wolves players seem roughly divided on whether Butler’s antics are lame or bitchin’. One veteran reportedly told Yahoo’s Chris Haynes that Butler “showed out,” and Haynes describes several Wolves as “motivated by Butler’s theatrics.” Towns, on the other hand, was “distraught and speechless,” and his subsequent attempt at uniting the team around his leadership fell excruciatingly flat:
Towns then huddled the players up with a message centered on everyone keeping their emotions in check, league sources said. But according to some of the players, the message was empty.
Thibodeau has been dragging his feet about trading Butler, but Butler’s campaign to force his way out of town has now gone hideously public, and is making the franchise’s max-player centerpiece look like a bit of a chump, and appears to be dividing the locker room. Here’s hoping he shows up to practice again tomorrow, more determined than ever.