The Timberwolves are fresh off a 0-5 road trip, which dropped their season record to 4-9. The franchise seems to be in disarray as its top players are either struggling or embroiled in trade rumors. That starts and ends with Jimmy Butler.
Nearly two months since Butler’s trade request went public, he continues to suit up for a struggling Minnesota team that occupies 13th place in the Western Conference. Whether it’s the Heat, Clippers or Rockets, Butler has yet to be dealt despite the reported trade talks. At this juncture, he is a polarizing figure — playing when he wants and how he wants — for a struggling team.
In a wide-ranging, candid interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic (subscription required), Butler addressed the team’s recent struggles, his trade request, reports of his personal minutes restrictions and more.
You can check out some of the interview’s highlights below.
On hating to lose:
“I absolutely hate, hate to f*****g lose, and the way that we go about things sometimes isn’t the right way, myself included, and a lot of other people as well. I just think that, man, whenever you win, everything takes care of itself. But we’ve got to figure out a way to do that, man. No matter what, all I want to do is win. I don’t care what anybody says, any media outlet, anybody says as a person, the one thing they can’t say is that I don’t want to win.”
On whether he’s focused on being traded:
“Like I said, I don’t focus on it. I really don’t. If it happens, if something happens, something happens. If it don’t, I’ve still got to go out there and prove that I can hang with the best of them. That’s what I do every time I take the floor. I dap somebody up, and it’s like, ‘Yo, let’s battle tonight.'”
On whether or not negative backlash impacts him:
“Hell no. For what? I know who I am. These guys know who I am. If you know me, then you know the truth. If you don’t, then you write something for people to read. That’s why I laugh at everything that somebody tells me, ‘Did you read this? Did you read that?’ No, I don’t read it. Why don’t I read it? I don’t even have the time to read it, but if I did I wouldn’t because if you didn’t talk to me to write something, you’re just making stuff up. You’re going by what you think, what you’re assuming. I leave it at that. Read it. Believe what you want. But at the end of the day, if you’ve got a real question then just come up and ask me and see who I am as a person.”
On if he agreed to play a certain amount of minutes:
“Once again, nobody talked to me about nothing. That’s just stuff that’s being written. I haven’t talked about minutes with nobody. I just go out there and I just play. I get lost in the game, and I want to win, and I don’t even realize that it turns into 41. I wouldn’t realize if it was 48 because I’m just out there and I’m competing.”
On his prior comments that he shouldn’t have to play excessive minutes:
“Yeah, we’ve got f*****g guys who can play. We’ve got to instill confidence in everybody. I think my confidence is high enough. I want all my guys to be successful, man. I want all these guys to play. Is that a convo (with Thibodeau) that I’ve got to have? Yeah, and then everybody wants to talk about how the m**********r’s not healthy [he said of himself]. Well G**damn, we’re playing 41, 43, 44 (minutes per game), it takes a toll on top of all the work that I do that don’t nobody even see. We’ll fix it. We’ll do something. We’ll talk.”