Jimmy Butler’s first practice back with the Timberwolves since his trade demand apparently wasn’t short on drama. The All-Star forward’s return to the team included “verbally challenging teammates, coaches and front office executives” and a scrimmage in which Butler led third-stringers against the team’s starters, according to ESPN.
Butler, an upcoming free agent in 2019, returned to the Timberwolves for practice Wednesday even though he’s continued pushing the franchise to trade him elsewhere. A deal that would’ve shipped him to the Heat nearly came to fruition over the weekend, but those talks fell apart despite the Heat’s efforts to build a package around young players and draft picks.
Earlier this year, the Sun-Times reported that Butler and Celtics star Kyrie Irving had discussed partnering up in free agency next year. Part of the reason for Butler’s frustration in Minnesota stemmed from the perceived “nonchalant” attitudes of young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, which seemingly came up again Wednesday in the practice.
“You f—ing need me. You can’t win without me,” Butler reportedly yelled at general manager Scott Layden at one point.
But one of the more interesting nuggets coming out of the Timberwolves’ practice is regarding a scrimmage. ESPN’s Amin Elhassan said on “The Jump” Wednesday afternoon that Butler led the team’s third-stringers in a scrimmage against their starters – and beat them.
After the practice, some of his teammates downplayed what had happened before the news started trickling out.
Butler, meanwhile, doesn’t sound like he’s backing down from his trade request, even if he’s still under contract with the Timberwolves for one more year. The team hasn’t followed through yet, but may feel the heat to get something done with more practices like this one.