Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is more hands-on than many of his fellow NBA team owners, which was on display throughout the team’s recent saga with Jimmy Butler.
Reports early in the process indicated that some teams were contacting Taylor directly to discuss potential trades for Butler, since Minnesota’s management team of Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden seemed less inclined to make a move. When Butler was finally dealt over the weekend, a report suggested that the team owners on both sides were “heavily involved” in negotiations.
With that in mind, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic and Chris Hine of The Star Tribune each spoke to Taylor about the deal the Wolves ultimately made, getting the owner’s thoughts on the package Minnesota received from the Sixers and the drama leading up to that trade agreement.
Here are a few of the highlights from Taylor, via Krawcznyski’s interview unless otherwise noted:
On Tom Thibodeau’s future with the Timberwolves:
“Like most coaches, he’ll be measured on the success of the team. Not one game, but what we can do overall, or just the improvement. If we can see improvement every day, that would be a very positive thing. Those are his expectations and that would be mine too. … Now it’s the (looking toward the) future. We’re looking forward. He’s supposed to be a coach with veteran knowledge. Hopefully he can bring that experience to this group of players and we win a lot more than we lose.”
On how Thibodeau’s close relationship with Butler affected the situation:
“It was hard for the coach to see an end to this relationship. I think he felt responsible that he should work hard to try to get Jimmy to change his mind, to stay with us, to meet the goals that we all agreed upon and that was to have a successful year this year and he would coach it, Jimmy would help in the leadership needs of the team and get us deep in the playoffs. I don’t fault the coach at all for having those desires and hopes.
“But of course as you saw, that strung out the timetable because a lot of effort on his part was put into trying to work with Jimmy. It’s probably from my viewpoint as being a step away from it, I felt that this was probably not going to work out.”
On how Butler handled the situation:
“I certainly wished that he would follow what I would call his behavior of being a leader on the team and doing positive things in the locker room, doing positive things out on the floor. I know in a number of cases he did do that, and I appreciate that. But my expectations of Jimmy were quite high. When we had these disruptions, rightly or wrongly, it appeared to have affected the team in a negative way.”
On whether Butler’s trade request was impacting the Wolves’ play (via Hine):
“It just appeared that they weren’t working together as a team or as a unit the way that they should’ve. I can’t exactly answer why. The only thing that was different that we had was Jimmy’s position of leaving the team. Maybe that was affecting guys more than they even knew themselves.”
On the trade package the Wolves received:
“I think in this case we were able to do two things that are very important. No. 1, we brought in some guys that could help us immediately, and I think that’s important. Secondly, we don’t have to look at it as just this year. I think because of their age and because of their contracts we can look at them as some fellows that can help us into the future. And that to me is very important.”