“You (expletive) need me, Scott. You can’t win without me.” This is what Jimmy Butler yelled to Minnesota Timberwolves general manager, Scott Layden, in his return to practice last week.
Emotions were high and toes were stepped on at that practice, and one thing remains clear: Jimmy wants out of Minnesota, but why?
The outburst is not something that transpired out of thin air, but from an accumulation of issues, one being the fact that Butler feels he is the one who plays the hardest out of all his teammates.
Butler said in his ESPN interview, “I’m not the most talented player on the team. Who is the most talented player on our team, KAT. Who is the most God-gifted player on our team, Wiggs. Who plays the hardest? Me! I play hard.”
Jimmy has admitted his feelings toward teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Personally, he feels KAT cares too much about his individual numbers, and not enough about winning.
He believes Wiggins isn’t as mentally tough and questions his heart for the game of basketball.
He hints at it again in the same interview. “I’m not going to say no names. I’m going to be honest: If your number one priority isn’t winning, people can tell. That’s the battle.”
This has some validity because, at practice, Jimmy played with the third-stringers on the team and took on the starters… and beat them.
It calls us all to question the passion of the guys on the team. Jimmy Butler has already proven himself time and time again by putting his body on the line every night, but the young guys have yet to prove they have a heart for the game of basketball.
Yes, they are physically talented, but are they working hard to win?
Sports media and some legends like Kevin Garnett only see the Butler situation as “drama”, but one NBA player believes Butler makes a valid point.
Oklahoma City forward, Paul George, speaks on the situation. “I’m all for what Jimmy is trying to do over there.” Essentially, George feels Jimmy’s intentions are coming from a good place and that he just wants his teammates to match the intensity that he plays with.
In that sense, Butler should not be ridiculed for wanting to bring the best out of his team. Was it the smartest move to make this type of statement at practice? Of course not; he could have found a better approach. The reason it is categorized as drama is because of the public manner in which Butler spoke to his GM and it made it to the news.
For one, Butler could have had a private conversation with the GM and coach Thibodeau. He also could have spoken privately with KAT and Wiggins to express the disconnect.
That’s not the end. The Timberwolves announced that they would be cancelling practice Thursday in the wake of Butler’s bold comments. Media availability was cancelled as well.
Butler still wants out, so what does that mean for him? At this point, it appears Jimmy will remain in Minnesota unless the front office presents a deal that doesn’t call for a multitude of assets.
Above all, Jimmy Butler is an athlete who comes out every night to play to the best of his abilities. He may not be as gifted with skill or talent as others, but he is a ruthless competitor.
Butler is the epitome of the quote, “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” You can never question Butler’s work ethic.
Any team would love to have Butler as a player and teammate because he will give his all. However, is there any team that will be able to compliment his character? Perhaps not.
Hopefully, Butler and the Timberwolves find a way to make it work because the regular season kicks off next week.
Every team is going to come out pounding, so the question that needs to be answered before tip off is this: Will the Timberwolves be able to put aside Butler drama and come focused for the regular season?