New 76er and true cheesebutt Jimmy Butler appeared on teammate JJ Redick’s podcast this week, where he discussed, among other things, the circumstances of his exit from the Timberwolves. That’s a terribly cursed sentence, given what it describes, but these are two provolone-ass individuals, before we even get to the word “podcast.” Here:
REDICK: It’s hard to put you in a box. It’s hard to put you in a box.
BUTLER: I would agree. I would definitely agree with that one.
REDICK: Is that intentional? Some of it? It has to be intentional.
BUTLER: No it’s not! It is not! It’s who I am! It’s weird because I’m weird.
Jim Butts fans will enjoy listening to Redick and Butler gush back and forth about how dedicated to his craft and in love with The Work Jimmy Butler is, and man there’s plenty of that. For all of Butler’s “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me” talk, he’s remarkably committed to talking about what a passionate and dedicated and inspiring player and teammate he is. I assume you, discerning reader, would prefer to skip ahead to the part where Redick steers the conversation toward that infamous Timberwolves practice—the one where Butler reportedly marched in late, wrecked his fragile young teammates in a scrimmage, gave the business to Scott Layden, and then marched out of there ahead of everyone else and directly into a scorched-earth interview with Rachel Nichols.
BUTLER: What happened was, this interview was planned like three weeks ahead of time, to talk about what was going on. So I would keep going into the office, talking with management, talking with Thibs, and they would say “hey, you need to come in to practice.” I was like, “Thibs, what do I need to come in and practice for? Like, y’all are fitting to trade me, like, what’s the point of practicing? I’m going in there, getting up and down, and then I’m going to be gone in a day?” Because it was always “ah, we’ve almost got a deal, we’ve almost got a deal, we’ve almost got a deal.”
So Butler didn’t want to practice, because it was pointless and also because he was concerned about injuring himself while the Timberwolves were on the cusp of trading him elsewhere. But someone in the room—Butler won’t say who, but he will say this person was in a position of authority in these discussions—insisted that he come to practice, and further insisted that he practice with the starters. This apparently pissed Butler off, totally coincidentally on the very day of his long-scheduled national interview.
BUTLER: We start doing some drills, and then at the end we start hooping. Now, that’s when all the stuff goes on. We play, we win, and I’m yapping, I’m yapping, I’m yapping, I always talk anyways, if you can’t tell, I’m always talking. Talking about how somebody can’t guard me, or nobody can beat me one-on-one. I do that, that’s what I do. This time it was just a little bit different because of whose team I was on, and I ain’t been around, so it was just, like, taken up a notch. And it didn’t help who was watching, who was watching and like, you know, ownership, management all of that good stuff.
Unfortunately, because Butler had totally coincidentally gone to his first Timberwolves practice of the preseason that very day, and totally coincidentally turned it into a fiasco by trashing and taunting his soon-to-be-former teammates, and the details of the practice totally coincidentally made it into reports, he had no choice but to talk about it in the big interview, which totally coincidentally had the effect of increasing the pressure on the Timberwolves to make a move. Finally, whether because it’s true, or because it’s another opportunity to dunk on his former teammates, or because Butler compulsively works at servicing his image as The Ultimate Hooper (or, most likely, some of each), Butler works in this important detail about the distribution of shots during that stirring practice scrimmage:
BUTLER: The most interesting detail of that whole scrimmage, that nobody knows? I only shot the ball once. I only shot the ball one time. I only shot the ball once.
REDICK: But every quote coming out of there was, like, Jimmy was getting buckets and he was dominating.
BUTLER: Oh, I was dominating. But I only shot the ball once. Dimes. Boom, boom, boom. Steals. Blocks. I only shot the ball one time.
So there. Butler beat Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins in a scrimmage without doing a lot of scoring. Or, anyway, that’s a correction Butler would like to make to the record, so that you will understand the true nature of his greatness, because he is just an incredibly exhausting person.