Jimmy Butler’s meeting with Minnesota Timberwolves management, including head coach Tom Thibodeau, caught some by surprise over the weekend. Butler was acquired from the Bulls last summer and the marriage seemed like a perfect match, especially with Thibodeau, the former Bulls coach, making the trade happen.
But Saturday’s report that Butler and the Timberwolves need a meeting to discuss his future with the team indicated that something was wrong. And The Athletic’s Shams Charania appeared on Stadium on Monday to further explain exactly what will be discussed at the meeting between Butler and Timberwolves management. The situation seems about as desperate as a mid-September basketball gathering can get.
Termed as a “last-ditch meeting,” Charania described tensions between Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Thibodeau and said the internal tensions may threaten to push the two stars out of Minnesota if things are not resolved this week.
Charania reported that Butler hasn’t been back to Minnesota all season, which has led to “uncertainty” about him after a season where there was plenty of tension between Butler, management and other players.
“There’s been a lot of tension brewing behind the scenes between players, between management, him,” The Athletic reporter said on Monday. “I’m told this is a last-ditch meeting for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Tom Thibodeau. And how they respond and how Jimmy responds.”
The big news here was that the franchise’s two biggest stars (and Andrew Wiggins) may all be at odds here.
“The issue is that this team has a lot of internal battles going on between him, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, who’s got a pretty calm demeanor and personality,” Charinia said. “Just a lot of butting of heads behind the scenes. and Tom Thibodeau has been caught kind of in the middle of all that.”
The stakes are high here, as not resolving Butler’s issues with the franchise, or getting him away from the franchise, could lead the Timberwolves to lose KAT, too.
“Karl-Anthony Towns, who is one of the top talents in the league, has yet to sign his rookie max extension, which should be a no-brainer,” Charania said. “And I’m told there won’t be any decision on that until this Jimmy Butler decision resolves itself.”
Thibodeau and Butler have been close and that there might be tension between the two now was surprising at the onset, but Charania described Thibodeau as “fickle,” an implication that things could change quickly for him. If that’s the case, Timberwolves fans might hope a quick change to a more positive relationship happens as a result of this meeting. If it doesn’t go well, Butler could go elsewhere, lest the Timberwolves risk losing a 22-year-old All-Star in his prime in Towns.