Wolves Updates: Practice, Butler, Towns, Jones

After a Wednesday practice session that figures to go down as one of the notorious NBA scrimmages of the decade, the Timberwolves have cancelled their Thursday practice, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As Krawczynski observes (via Twitter), head coach Tom Thibodeau complained just last week that the preseason schedule didn’t allow for much practice time for a Timberwolves team that desperately needed it. So the cancellation today is probably more about avoiding another media circus than anything else. After all, following Wednesday’s performance, Jimmy Butler told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he planned on being back at practice on Thursday.

Here’s more out of Minnesota, with several notes on the Butler situation:

  • Within his conversation with Nichols, Butler confirmed much of the recent reporting on his situation, acknowledging that he wanted the Timberwolves to renegotiate his contract in the offseason and indicating that he believed he made it clear long before September 19 that he wanted out of Minnesota.
  • According to Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania of The Athletic, Butler’s return to practice played out just like he frequently promised Thibodeau and owner Glen Taylor it would if they didn’t trade him. The Athletic duo reports that Butler also made it clear he wanted to sit down and discuss a handful of issues with Karl-Anthony Towns in the hopes of challenging Towns to be upfront and honest. It’s not clear whether that meeting has happened or will happen.
  • While Butler claimed that Towns started the trash talk in practice, others in the gym disagreed with that assessment, per Krawczynski and Charania.
  • Here’s what Butler told Nichols about Towns: “Am I being tough on him? Yeah! Yeah, that’s who I am. I’m not the most talented player. Who’s the most talented player on our team? KAT. Who’s the most god-gifted player on our team? Wigs (Andrew Wiggins). Wigs got the longest arms, the biggest hands, can jump the highest, can run the fastest. But who plays the hardest? Me. I play hard. I play really hard. I put my body on the line every damn practice. Every day in the games. That’s my passion. That’s how I give to the game. That’s how I give to you guys.”
  • The reactions to Butler’s performance in practice were mixed, according to Krawczynski and Charania, who suggested some players laughed and enjoyed it, while others in the building were concerned, wondering how Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden could stand for Butler’s conduct. ESPN analyst Stan Van Gundy said on SportsCenter (video link) that he heard from some members of the organization that it was the team’s best practice of the fall, which suggests Thibodeau and Layden weren’t bothered by it.
  • In non-Butler news, the Timberwolves have yet to have any contract extension talks with backup point guard Tyus Jones, per Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN (Twitter link). If the two sides don’t work out a new deal by Monday, Jones will be on track for restricted free agency in 2019.
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16 thoughts on “Wolves Updates: Practice, Butler, Towns, Jones

  1. I use to talk shit in practice all day. Coaches don’t mind it. They just gotta step up. Shut him up. Other than that, Jimmy is a diva! Waaa Waaa Waaa. No need to do an immediate interview unless you have an ulterior motive. That’s not a teammate and I wouldn’t want someone like that as a teammate if I were on any of the other 29 teams.

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  2. formerlyz

    This story was amazing. I have more respect for Butler than I did before, to be honest, although I feel like it could have been handled differently. Maybe respect isnt the right word, but I do like him more than I did, and I already thought he was an elite 2 way player

    It’s not the scoring from Wiggins. It’s his effort level, the fact he disappears, the fact he still hasnt really gotten stronger, the fact that he could be an elite defender, but still hasnt shown any glimpses of desire or ability to play that end of the floor, nor has he really improved in that area. He still needs to continue to improve his jumpshot, and he needs to be a more willing attacker with the ball, and learn how to play without the ball by posting up in the half court and/or becoming a great cutter. The thing is that he absolutely has enough talent to be a great player, but it’s hard to say that we know he even wants to be. He took the most shots on that team last year, and there were still reports of him complaining about touches and shots. If anything, KAT needs more touches, and Wiggins needs to be more efficient. Jimmy Butler should be frustrated with him. The work he has put in to be the player he is, and he still wants more. Wiggins has all this talent, and he doesnt even care

    I’d been speculating on Butler’s feelings towards Wiggins since the end of the season, and some of the comments Butler made in the interview, and what happened yesterday, seems to have some merit to what I was thinking. I said it before the offseason, they should have tried to move Wiggins to Sacramento for what at the time would have been Bogdanovic, Garret Temple, Iman Shumpert, and the 36th pick in the draft, and build around Butler and KAT. I think Butler wanted Wiggins gone, but maybe I’m wrong. It seems like Butler most wants to sign a 5 year extension, and I think it sounds like he would have liked to do that in Minnesota, but only if they moved Wiggins. When they didnt, he wanted to be traded to get his bird rights to go with him. Again, speculation, but I feel like yesterday shed some light towards that possibility

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  3. Dionis

    Wiggins and LeBron are the biggest dissapointments I’ve ever seen in the NBA because they literally have the ability to destroy the NBA and their lack of heart keeps them from doing just that.

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    • Nebrasketball

      This wins worst take of the year.

      LeBron’s such a disappointment, with all of his best-ever-in-the-NBA stats and his carrying bad teams, and his winning all those championships.

      At worst, LeBron is the second best player to ever play in the NBA. I suspect he’s the best player ever by a large margin over Jordan.

      Comparing him to Wiggins is ridiculous.

      At least you’ll delete your account after the Lakers make the playoffs.

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      • I refuse to watch the Lakers. I’m tired of hearing about LeBron. There are 449 other players in the league, and many play very good basketball. I’ll take 5 guys passing the basketball over a ball dominant player like LeBron or Westbrook all day.
        This is the Jimmy Butler that Thibs wanted when he acquired him from Chicago. Jimmy is mad as heck, and Thibs loves it. Thibs has always been hard on his players.

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        • LordBanana

          Y’all comparing LeBron with Westbrook and Wiggins? Don’t think you guys are actually watching very basketball.

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          • Not comparing them. Just saying there are 449 other players in the NBA that deserve publicity too. When I see them talking about LeBron on a game that he isn’t playing, I stick my fingers in my mouth. The Celtics and Warriors will have a very good Finals series this year, but they’ll still talk about LeBron all day. I’ll turn the sound off and listen to the games on the radio.

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            • Nebrasketball

              Unpopular opinion:

              Neither the Celtics nor the Warriors are making the finals this year.

              Rockets vs Raptors.

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                • All the Sports Illustrated writers have the Warriors over the Celtics anywhere from 5 to 7 games, except one funny guy has the Nuggets over the Raptors.

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        • x%sure

          Ptn– Right. You talk about Lebron at every opportunity, and create one if necessary.

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  4. Nebrasketball

    Butler found a way to both potentially tank and raise his value in the eyes of other GMs, all in one practice.

    This story is amazing.

    Butler’s no saint, and there’s probably a fair amount of blame to spread around this franchise, but to me it all falls on Thibs being terrible at his job, and on the owner, Taylor, for continuing to make bad decisions.

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  5. Sam Amick just put up article on “The Athletic.” Says Jimmy and Thibs have butted heads many times in the past, but Thibbs knows Jimmy isn’t bluffing that he wants out of Minnesota. Says Towns and Wiggins make too much money to let this soap opera go on.

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  6. nentwigs

    Can we just satisfy LeBron’s ego and talent by renaming his new team the Los Angeles LeBrons? Then the name LAKERS could be returned to Minnesota where it belongs and the snakebit Timberwolves name can be given the merciful burial that it deserves. Is there even a LAKE in LA?

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