Despite the bizarre way their time together in Minnesota ended, Jimmy Butler insists he still has a good relationship with former Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau, relays Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Butler was campaigning for a trade prior to the season, when he reportedly engaged in outlandish behavior at a Wolves practice. Butler wound up getting dealt to the Sixers and Thibodeau was fired shortly afterward, but Butler said they have remained on good terms.
“I’m sure Thibs would tell you like I tell you. I’ll take all the blame. I’m sure he’ll say he’ll take it too,” said Butler, who added that Thibodeau called him before tonight’s game. “Somebody got to point the finger at somebody. But like I tell everybody, Thibs is a big part – and you can tell I’m smiling – because it’s the truth, he’s a big part of who I am today as a player.
“He gave me an opportunity after not letting me play at all my first couple of years [with the Bulls]. But then he saw something in me, and he let me rock a little bit. That’s my guy. He’s always in my ear talking to me about the game. To tell you the truth, believe it or not, he talked to me about life. He does.’’
There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:
- Power forward/center Norvel Pelle has played well for the Sixers‘ G League team in Delaware and may get a shot at the NBA, tweets Serena Winters of NBC Sports Philly. A Sixers official said Pelle was given a workout today so the team could take a closer look at what he can offer. Injuries have left Philadelphia in need of frontcourt help.
- The Nets have benefited from DeMarre Carroll‘s willingness to accept a reserve role, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Carroll had started all but five games in his first five years in the league and has Brooklyn’s second-highest salary at $15.4MM, but he agreed to the move to help the team. “It was an opportunity for me to see how I can impact the game, watching it from the side first,” he said. “I think that was the biggest thing, to get used to it, to get comfortable to it and embrace it. That’s what I tried to do.”
- The addition of Jeremy Lin hasn’t worked out for the Raptors so far, says Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Lin has missed all 17 of his 3-point shots since coming to Toronto and is shooting 30% overall. Smith notes that the return of injured guard Fred VanVleet should help the bench unit, but that’s still projected to be a couple of weeks away.