There have been some very dark days for the Minnesota Timberwolves organization, but today is surely going to finish near the top of the list. The discord between Jimmy Butler and the Wolves reached what is surely the breaking point today. For something that can only be described as a series of unfortunate events, lets follow along with Woj.
There had long been rumblings and rumors going back and forth about whether or not Jimmy Butler could return to the Wolves at all for the start of the regular season. Well, that (kind of) got answered today.
Jimmy Butler practiced with the Timberwolves today, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 10, 2018
So that was all we were given to start the afternoon. Nobody really knew how it went or how much he was involved. Even the players were secretive about what exactly went on today.
Anthony Tolliver on Butler practicing: "He was ... around. That's really all I gotta say about that."— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) October 10, 2018
Then, as they often do, the Woj bomb started to rumble in and we found out exactly what happened today.
All-Star Jimmy Butler participated in Minnesota's practice, a session that included him verbally challenging teammates, coaches and front office, league sources told ESPN. Butler was vociferous and emotional at times, targeting Thibodeau/Layden/Towns/Wiggins. Story soon on ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 10, 2018
At one point in a scrimmage, sources said, Butler turned to GM Scott Layden and screamed, "You (bleeping) need me. You can't win without me." Butler left teammates and coaches largely speechless. He dominated the gym in every way. Jimmy's back.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 10, 2018
Holy smokes. There’s a lot going on here. Obviously, Jimmy was NOT happy to be back at practice. He certainly isn’t over everything that went down between him, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
One extra thing to note here is that Woj portrays this in a somewhat positive light for Jimmy. Woj also has been seemingly facilitating most of the leaks for the Butler camp throughout this entire process, which is why it’s important to at least get a different point of view.
I spoke with a Wolves staffer who said about today's practice: "It was bad. Guys come in angry, having bad days all the time. This was as bad as I've ever seen a practice in my years in the NBA."— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) October 10, 2018
A lot of Minnesota players left Timberwolves practice today energized by Butler's performance, mesmerized with him taking end-of-the-bench players and running the table on the regulars, sources said. At the end, he marched out like if a mic drop. Butler delivered a tour de force.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 10, 2018
I can’t even begin to imagine what that scene at practice must have looked like. It seems like maybe it was an inspiring day for the bench players, but KAT, Wiggins, Thibs and Layden all left practice today pretty unhappy.
In the big picture, this is probably the last straw. Minnesota had been patient up until now, as they should have been. With the events that transpired today, along with whatever Butler says during his interview on ESPN tonight, a trade needs to happen as soon as possible. His performance today may have inspired some of the players, but the way he attacked the two franchise cornerstones cannot be a good thing for this team.
Also, this is not helping Thibs or Layden’s chances of making it deep into the regular season without being fired. This entire process has been a mess, and it just got so much uglier.
With so much chaos flying around, there is only one thing I am sure of at this point. at this point.
We miss you, Flip.