Maybe the relationship between Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota Timberwolves can be salvaged after all.
Initial reports from The Athletic’s The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski intimated just the opposite. They heard Butler was prepared to “seriously contemplate his future with the franchise” ahead of next summer’s free agency. All signs pointed to him requesting a trade.
But NBA.com’s David Aldridge, who it should be noted will be joining The Athletic shortly, relayed some different intel in his latest edition of “Morning Tip Mailbag:”
Jimmy Butler’s unhappiness in Minnesota will reportedly be addressed today in a meeting between him, Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden. I’m told, though, that while Butler has serious questions about the direction of the franchise, he’s still willing to hear Minnesota out, and isn’t dead set on demanding a trade elsewhere. Stay tuned.
Butler himself seemed to back up this assertion on Twitter:
exactly why people need to stop believing what you see on the internet.. I didn’t have no damn meeting today… its tomorrow.. i wonder what else people write and people believe hmmm…
— Jimmy Butler (@JimmyButler) September 18, 2018
Conflicting reports are part and parcel of the NBA’s news cycle. None of this is shocking. Butler could want out of Minnesota. He could also be willing to play all of 2018-19 on the Timberwolves before addressing his future in free agency. Both are legitimate possibilities.
Truth told, though, it may not matter what Jimmy Butler would like. Thibodeau has traveled great lengths to assemble a winner in Minnesota. Butler remains his crown-jewel acquisition. After bringing back Taj Gibson, Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, he doesn’t seem like someone who would backtrack from the current direction; he’s more likely, it seems, to let the situation play itself out and hope a quality 2018-19 showing, plus Butler’s Bird rights, are enough to sell the All-NBA wing on a future in Minnesota.