Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler Talks Infamous Timberwolves Practice

We’re nearly a full month removed from the blockbuster trade that sent Jimmy Butler from Minnesota to Philadelphia in a package that included Dario Saric and Robert Covington. With both the Sixers and Timberwolves playing well since completing that deal, Butler sat down with teammate J.J. Redick for an appearance on Redick’s podcast for The Ringer, revisiting the trade request that ultimately ended his time as a Timberwolf.

In addition to discussing his trade request and his initial thoughts on heading to Philadelphia, Butler also provided some new details on the year’s most-discussed scrimmage. Here are a few highlights from the All-NBA swingman:

On whether Philadelphia was on his radar as a possible destination after he requested a trade:

“It was. When they were talking, Minnesota and Philly, they liked the deal that they were starting to get and then put together. So that’s when I became kinda aware that I could end up in Philly. Did I think this was gonna be where I ended up? I didn’t think so. And the only reason I didn’t think so was because it’s like, Philly is already a really, really good team. If you put me on there, I would like to think I’m a good enough player to add a little something and maybe get us to the hump of Eastern Conference finals, maybe even Finals.”

On whether scheduling a one-on-one sitdown with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on the same day as his infamous performance in practice was premeditated:

“Look, I did go to Marquette University, so I know you think I’m really that smart, but that’s not what happened. What happened was: This interview was planned three weeks ahead of time to talk about what was going on. So I would keep going into the office talking with management, talking with Thibs, and they would be like, ‘Hey, you need to come in and practice.’ I was like, ‘Thibs, what I need to come in and practice for? Y’all gonna trade me.’ What’s the point of practicing — going in there, getting up and down — and then I’m gonna be gone in a day. ‘Cause it was always like: ‘We almost got a deal, we almost got a deal, we almost got a deal.'”

More on that scrimmage, in which Butler teamed up with the Wolves’ third-stringers to beat the starters:

“We go into the practice, and I’m telling Thibs, ‘I just wanna hoop,’ like I just wanna get up and down. See if I can go. And we start doing some drills, and at the end we start hooping. Now that’s when all of the stuff goes on. We play, we win, and I’m yapping. I’m yapping, I’m yapping. I always talk, anyways. If you can’t tell, I’m always talking, talking about how somebody can’t guard me, or nobody can beat me. I do that. That’s what I do. This time it was just a little bit different ’cause of whose team I was on and I ain’t been around, so it was just taken up a notch and it didn’t help who was watching—ownership, management, all of that good stuff.”

On “the most interesting detail of that whole scrimmage that nobody knows”:

“I only shot the ball one time. I only shot the ball once. … I was dominating, but I only shot the ball once. Dimes, boom, boom, boom. Steals, blocks. I only shot the ball one time.”

Jimmy Butler Leaves Sixers’ Win With Groin Injury

DECEMBER 11: An MRI this morning revealed no structural damage, tweets ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

DECEMBER 10: Sixers swingman Jimmy Butler left the team’s eventual 116-102 victory over the Pistons with a groin injury. With 2:20 left in the first quarter, Butler left with obvious discomfort and did not return to the game.

The four-time All-Star notched four rebounds and two assists while shooting 0-for-3 from the floor. After the game, Sixers’ head coach Brett Brown told reporters, including Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link), that he was unsure how severe Butler’s injury is and had yet to meet with the medical staff.

Butler, 28, entered play on Monday averaging 21.4 PPG and 5.3 RPG with Philadelphia through 12 games. The Sixers acquired Butler from the Timberwolves in mid-November as his tumultuous tenure in Minnesota concluded. Philadelphia’s plan was to pair Butler with their two budding stars, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

If the groin injury keeps Butler sidelined for an extended stretch, it would mark the second consecutive season that he missed significant time. Butler missed nearly a month with a left knee strain last February. He returned late in the regular season to help push the Timberwolves to the postseason.

Atlantic Notes: Walker, Hernangomez, Butler, Yabusele

While Kemba Walker did not sound enthused about returning to his native New York and play for the Knicks, he did not shut the door on the possibility, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

“I don’t have any interest in coming back home — right now,” Walker said. The 28-year-old Bronx native is set to hit free agency this summer and will be one of the most sought-after guards on the market.

New York is expected to have cap room to sign at least one top-tier free agent and Walker fits the bill. While he admitted to enjoying his time playing in Madison Square Garden as a visitor, Walker appeared to shut down the possibility over the summer

“I’ve been hearing it for years now, the Knicks,” Walker said. “Every time I come home, it’s ‘When are you coming home to the Knicks?’ MSG is a special place, man. The Knicks are a special team. Of course, I’ve been a Knicks fan growing up, always rooted for the home team. But I really can’t see myself in a Knicks jersey — only because I’ve been in one jersey. I really don’t know.”

Check out more Atlantic Division notes below:

  • Former Knicks center Willy Hernangomez said he requested a trade last season after it became clear he was no longer in the team’s long-term plans, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “Obviously with Phil [Jackson] out, he was the person who bought me here from Spain, who believed in me from the beginning,” Hernangomez said. “Him and Steve Mills. Summer, they made a change. I think that changed the mentality to the future. You see how many players from my first year are on the team now.”
  • Sixers big man Joel Embiid said the acquisition of Jimmy Butler and subsequent change to his role have impacted his play. Speaking to reporters, including Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Butler downplayed Embiid’s comment and expressed his support for Embiid. “I know where his heart is, man,” Butler said. “His heart is pure. He wants to win. I can feel for him. It’s new to him. It’s new to myself. It’s new to everybody.
  • Celtics big man Guerschon Yabusele suffered a “bad sprain” in his right ankle during the team’s on Saturday, A.Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes. Yabusele is expected to “be out for a while,” according to head coach Brad Stevens.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, VanVleet, Sixers, Hayward

As a result of the Nets owning their own first-round pick for the first time in four years and the struggles the team has dealt with after losing Caris LeVert, many fans have brought up the idea of tanking this season to land another top prospect. However, as Greg Logan writes for Newsday, the Nets and head coach Kenny Atkinson won’t be actively trying to lose games any time soon.

The Nets have suffered several tough losses in recent weeks, having built up leads against the 76ers, Grizzlies and Thunder, only to fall short of victories on all three occasions. However, the team had a strong weekend, securing back-to-back victories over the Raptors and Knicks.

As it stands, the Nets sit at 10-18 and 11th in the Eastern Conference. The conference has a plethora of struggling teams, which would make it more difficult for the Nets to fall down the standings. It looks like this Nets team will continue fighting and scraping for every victory it can get.

There’s more from the Atlantic division:

Clippers Rumors: Beverley, Durant, Butler, Harris

Back in July, we heard that Tobias Harris turned down a four-year extension offer from the Clippers. According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, Harris wasn’t the only player with whom the Clippers discussed a contract extension this year. Deveney hears from a source that the team also spoke to guard Patrick Beverley about a new deal, despite the fact that he was still rehabbing from knee surgery at the time. Beverley decided to play out the final season of his contract instead.

Beverley, who is earning just over $5MM this season, would have been eligible for an extension worth up to about $47.5MM over four years, though the Clippers almost certainly offered less than that. I’d guess Los Angeles made an effort to lock up Beverley at a team-friendly rate following his long injury absence, with the 30-year-old betting he could rebuild his value in advance of his 2019 free agency.

Here’s more from out of Los Angeles:

  • The Clippers are keeping a close eye on Kevin Durant‘s situation in Golden State, and have every intention of making a pitch to Durant in free agency next summer, Deveney reports. Deveney suggests that Durant seems likely to hear out the Clips, though with his free agency still seven months away, it’s hard to get a sense at this point of what the process will look like.
  • The Clippers made “no significant push” to acquire Jimmy Butler when the Timberwolves were shopping him earlier this fall, sources tell Deveney. As we heard during that saga, the Clips were strongly opposed to including Tobias Harris in a package for Butler, and that stance has paid off so far — Harris, who leads L.A. in PPG (21.6) and RPG (8.4), has been the club’s best player this season.
  • Patrick Beverley was fined $25K by the NBA for throwing the ball at a spectator on Sunday, the league announced today in a press release.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Butler, Nets

The Raptors have been the best team in the NBA so far this season, in no small part due to the offseason additions of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. As Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes, one of the key qualities that both veterans bring to the table is their play down the stretch of a close game, as evident in the duel against Kevin Durant and the Warriors last week.

As Bontemps points out, both Green and Leonard have been on the floor for the most intense moments of the NBA Finals and both players are battle-tested as they look to lead the Raptors to the promised land this season.

The Raptors still have to iron out some late-game kinks in order to close out tough games (especially come playoff time), but at least this season they will have two players that can thrive in such moments on the floor. There aren’t many other teams that can claim that, especially in the Eastern Conference.

There’s more from the Atlantic division:

  • Since joining the 76ers, Jimmy Butler is averaging the fewest minutes per game since his sophomore season and the fewest shot attempts since his third year in the league. However, as Keith Pompey points out for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Butler is focused on winning and leading the 76ers, especially in crunch time moments, which he has done several times this season.
  • After an injury derailed Caris LeVert‘s promising season, the Nets have struggled to bounce back as they have lost six straight games in a variety of ways. Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes about the team’s struggles since losing their leading guard.
  • Given those aforementioned struggles for the Nets and the fact that they actually own their first round draft pick this year, could it possibly be time for the team to tank? At least one writer from NetsDaily isn’t afraid to ask the tough question.

Sixers’ Jimmy Butler Not Concerned With Reduced Role

Through nine games with his new team, Sixers swingman Jimmy Butler has seen his fewest minutes per game since his sophomore season with the Bulls. He’s also attempting 13 shots per game, his lowest total since the 2013/14 season.

However, since Butler arrive in Philadelphia, the team has gone 7-2 through nine games. As Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes, Butler is not concerned with his reduced role thus far and he’s only focused on winning.

“I don’t care how many points I score, how many shots I shoot,” Butler said. “I’ve always been like that. I always will continue to be that way. Just win at all cost.”

In his nine games, Butler is averaging 17.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 3.0 APG for the Sixers, and has nailed a pair of game-winning shots. However, those totals are all his lowest per-game averages since the aforementioned 2013/14 season. Still, the four-time All-Star maintained confidence in both his abilities and the team’s chances of winning.

“I’m a good basketball player,” Butler said. “When my time comes, my time comes. Like I said, I’m all for winning. I’m not worried about being an All-Star. I’m not worried about that, any of that stuff. I think winning takes care of everything. Winning helps everybody look great.”

Jimmy Butler “Loving” His Time With The Sixers

Jimmy Butler will be a free agent after the season and while Butler warned that it’s too early to talk about his future, he recently told the media that he can picture himself staying in Philadelphia long-term.

“I could see this being home,” Butler recently said (video link via Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer).

Prior to the deal that sent Butler to the Sixers, it was rumored that the Knicks were one of his preferred destinations. New York will have the cap space to sign the four-time All-Star outright this summer, though it sounds like any interest in the Big Apple has curtailed.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t even talk about the trade no more, because I’m here, and I’m loving it here. All of that is in the past. So I leave it just there,” he said (via Pompey in a full-length piece).

Butler did add that New York is a “good, young team” that plays hard. “They got some guys that can put the ball in the basket,” he continued. The Sixers will play the Knicks four times this season with the first coming on Wednesday night.

Atlantic Notes: Trier, Mudiay, Butler

With the Knicks focused on player development and youth in this rebuilding season without Kristaps Porzingis, one bright spot in the first quarter of the team’s season has been the play of Allonzo Trier. As Tommy Beer writes for Forbes, Trier has showcased his elite scoring abilities and has proven that he belongs in the league, despite going undrafted last summer.

Trier has played nearly 500 minutes so far this season and has provided a consistent scoring threat off the bench, averaging 11.5 points per game while knocking down 47.2% of his 3-pointers.

While a lot of attention has been on Kevin Knox and the surprising play of second-round pick Mitchell Robinson, Beer points out that fans shouldn’t overlook Trier and his place in the team’s young core, especially given the consistency he has provided this season.

As Porzingis works on recovering from his torn ACL and the Knicks have plans to spend in free agency, it will be interesting to see what the team’s young core looks like moving froward.

There’s more from the Atlantic division:

Sixers Optimistic Butler Will Stay Put

Sixers managing partner and owner Josh Harris is both determined and optimistic that Jimmy Butler will remain with the team beyond this season, as he told USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt and The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The Butler trade was made to give the franchise a third star alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and become a serious championship contender. It wouldn’t have happened unless the Sixers were convinced they could keep Butler, who can opt out of his contract this summer, in the long run.

“We’ve been saying since the summer we’ve been looking for another star and we felt we needed another shooter, a three-and-D wing, someone like Jimmy,” Harris told Zillgitt. “They’re hard to find at this elite level. We know who we have to get through to win the East. It’s obvious who it is. We think this is a piece we needed.”

While Butler became a major distraction around the Timberwolves, he’s been a model citizen since joining the Sixers. And Philadelphia anticipates that its gamble will pay off in the long run in the form of a multi-year contract.

“Our goal is to have elite talent under contract for a long time,” Harris told Charania. “That’s what we’re interested in.”

Both reporters offered insights into the trade discussions involving Butler. The Sixers eventually agreed to deal Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Jerryd Bayless and a future second-rounder for Butler and throw-in Justin Patton.

  • The Timberwolves initially asked for another starter in addition to the trio the Sixers dealt, according to Zillgitt.
  • Minnesota narrowed its offers to three teams, with the Pelicans and Rockets being the other finalists, according to Charania.  New Orleans dangled forward Nikola Mirotic and a first-round pick, while Houston was willing to part with guard Eric Gordon and two first-rounders.
  • The Sixers initially offered draft picks and other large contracts, Harris told Charania. Markelle Fultz was discussed in the Butler talks.
  • Other suitors, such as the Lakers, wanted to wait until the December 15th date when signed free agents could be included in a deal for Butler, Charania added.