Disgruntled Jimmy Butler caused a stir at the Minnesota Timberwolves’ practice on Wednesday, and he wasn’t given a chance to do so again on Thursday.
The team called off practice, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who added that there would be no media availability as well.
Later Thursday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that there was a players-only meeting between Butler and his teammates.
Butler reportedly told the players his issues are with team management and not with his teammates.
However, point guard Jeff Teague said on his Twitter account that The Athletic’s description of the meeting was inaccurate.
“It wasn’t no players meeting you just made that up bro y’all gotta relax with this fake news,” Teague tweeted.
According to ESPN, Butler on Wednesday verbally challenged teammates, coaches and front office executives. Per the report, an emotional Butler targeted president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau, teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and general manager Scott Layden, at whom he screamed at one point, “You need me. You can’t win without me.”
Butler has demanded a trade this offseason and has called out young stars Towns and Wiggins on a number of occasions.
In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols after the practice, Butler told her about how he felt during practice.
“I haven’t played basketball in so long. I’m so passionate,” said Butler, 29, a four-time All-Star who was traded to Minnesota before the 2017-18 season. “I don’t do it for any reason but to compete. All my emotion came out in one time. Was it the right way? No! But I can’t control that when I’m out there competing. That’s raw me, me at my finest, me at my purest. Inside the lines.”
Butler appears to be convinced not all of his teammates will do what it takes to win.
“I think that’s the part everybody doesn’t see,” Butler said. “I’m not going to say no names. I’m going to be honest: If your No. 1 priority isn’t winning, people can tell. That’s the battle. Now there is a problem between people. That’s where the disconnect is.”
He said the fact he showed up to practice on Wednesday doesn’t mean he’s happy.
“It’s not fixed,” Butler told Nichols. “Let’s be honest.”
Can the situation be fixed?
“It could be,” he said. “Do I think so? No.”
—Field Level Media