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Monday Musings: Conflict Resolution

The Kids Aren’t Alright

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Minnesota Timberwolves v Houston Rockets - Game Five Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Well, this past weekend has been something for Wolves fans. After rumblings all summer and towards the end of last season, it seems things may be finally coming to some sort of precipice with the Minnesota Timberwolves as Jimmy Butler and Tom Thibodeau will meet today to discuss Butler’s future with the team.

Regardless of what the actual disputes are and where they lay, there is certainly some sort of issue underlying the foundation of this franchise. The four most important people with this team, owner Glen Taylor, President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, current superstar Jimmy Butler, and superstar to-be Karl-Anthony Towns have problems. This has been clear for some time, but it typically has not afforded the type of national coverage that we have seen this past weekend, first from Jon Krawcyznski at The Athletic here and then from Woj at ESPN here.

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about what these issues are and it is hard not to see fault with all parties. However, Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns determine the fate of this team. It’s possible that the meeting today between Butler and Thibs will serve as an important airing of grievances, but that is hard to believe when the dichotomy is not between Butler and Thibs, but between Thibs and former Bulls and the rest of the team.

Last year, it seemed as if the roster was almost split in half among some of the new veterans brought to the team and the younger players that had been brought on by Flip Saunders. Going into this year, that dichotomy was becoming more pronounced but it was hard not to hope that winning could cure all ills. This team is poised to be extremely successful in a talented Western Conference and while the current makeup of the league (i.e. the Warriors) makes a title run unrealistic, the Wolves have a shot to be in the upper echelon of competition.

Having personnel problems blow up this team has incredible ramifications, as the relationship between Butler and Thibs is one of the main reasons why Thibs is even here at this point. If Butler were to begin publicly asking to be moved, the Wolves would find themselves in a difficult situation trying to recoup value for the star that they traded for just a year ago. It’s just an absolute mess.

On top of this all, news came out this weekend that Justin Patton has broken his foot, which you can read about here. Patton has reportedly broken his right foot, which is theoretically better than re-injuring his left foot, as he spent most of last year recovering from a broken bone in his left foot last season followed up by a recent surgery to his left foot in April.

It’s possible that this was just a freak accident, we don’t seem to know too much more at this point about the injury. But it is hard to feel good about the prospect of the former first-round pick having an easy road back. Two serious foot injuries for a center is simply not a good sign. Here’s hoping for the best for Justin Patton, as this would be a terribly unfortunate way for things to go badly for a promising career.

Well, that seems enough news for one day. It’s anyone’s guess if we are going to hear reports on what happens in the meeting today. I would believe that we are going to hear something put out through the beat reporters about how Thibs and Jimmy are on the same page about working hard and playing competitive basketball. However, Towns has yet to sign his extension and while he is nearly certain to sign it, the longer this issue gets drawn out the worse things can get.

Welcome to the 2018-2019 Minnesota Timberwolves everyone. It’s going to be quite the ride.