The Minnesota Timberwolves are a bit of a mess right now. They want to keep Jimmy Butler. Well, to be more specific, head coach and general manager Tom Thibodeau wants to keep Butler in Minnesota.
But the guard wants out, and he’s got a small list of teams he’s interested in going to. The problem with all that is, well, it’s just not that simple, and though teams are inquiring about what it would take to get Butler on their roster, training camp is creeping up and the clock is ticking.
But a report indicates this isn’t the first time Butler has noted the end of his tenure with the Timberwolves. Though Butler was acquired last summer, his free agency is ever-looming, and apparently he’s told his former Bulls coach that he’s considering options beyond Minnesota.
According to a report from The Athletic‘s Jon Krawczynski, Butler had previously told Thibodeau that he didn’t see a future in Minnesota beyond this next season.
The four-time All-Star has received a torrent of criticism for the timing of his request. It has put Thibodeau in an incredibly difficult position with little leverage as other teams start to swoop in to try to take advantage. But sources say this week was not the first time Butler made it known to Thibodeau that he was unhappy and did not see a long-term future with the franchise. When it became clear early in the summer that he was not going to get the renegotiation and extension, those feelings were made known to Thibodeau, sources said.
What remains unclear is how definitive Butler was in his earlier remarks. Did he say that he wanted a trade? Did he say the he did not intend to sign an extension with the team when he becomes a free agent on July 1, 2019? Or did he merely convey some disenchantment at the current state of the situation?
Thibodeau’s tenure in Minnesota — and perhaps its abrupt end — might now be tied directly with Butler’s fate as well. That means it’s a complicated situation for sure, but apparently, this was a reality the team could have confronted much, much sooner.