Three weeks after his trade request went public, Jimmy Butler returned to the Timberwolves‘ facility and practiced with the team today, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
While Butler’s participation in practice doesn’t necessarily mean a trade won’t happen, it’s another indication that he won’t sit out once the regular season begins next week. Of course, that was never really a realistic option for Butler, since – as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets – the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement features language that makes a holdout impractical.
According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Butler was vocal during today’s practice, verbally challenging coaches, teammates, and the front office, including Tom Thibodeau, Scott Layden, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins. Woj describes the 29-year-old as “vociferous and emotional at times,” adding in a second tweet that at one point, Butler screamed at Layden, “You (bleeping) need me. You can’t win without me.”
As we relayed earlier today, the Timberwolves reached back out to the Rockets on Tuesday, and the Heat remain interested in rekindling talks with Minnesota, so those trade discussions figure to continue. However, reports throughout the process have indicated that Thibodeau would prefer to see Butler start the season with the Wolves. That scenario appears increasingly plausible now that the All-NBA wing is practicing with his teammates again, though perhaps the obvious tension in practice will make Thibodeau reconsider his stance.
Here are a few more of the latest notes on Butler:
- Besides their discussions with the Heat, the Timberwolves have had no “serious, active talks” with any other team about Butler, league sources tell Wojnarowski.
- According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, the Nets have been “timid” in their approach toward pursuing Butler, and have made Caris LeVert unavailable. Deveney also confirms that the Clippers are unwilling to include Tobias Harris in any offers, having instead proposed deals headlined by Danilo Gallinari or some combination of other players, such as Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic, and others.
- Some league executives who spoke to Deveney expressed reservations about Butler’s potential locker room fit. “As good as Jimmy is, I think you have to be concerned about the impact he is going to have in the locker room, on your younger guys, on your coaching staff, all of that,” one general manager said. “He has gotten the benefit of the doubt, but if you look at his history, he’s had trouble getting along in Chicago and now in Minnesota. Everywhere he goes, it becomes about Jimmy, and if you’re going to bring him in, you have to account for that.”
- Earlier today, we passed along details on the Timberwolves‘ discussions with the Rockets.