Jimmy Butler: I’ll return to Timberwolves practice today, situation could be fixable, don’t think it will be

Dan Feldman
NBC Sports

Jimmy Butler proved several points at the Timberwolves’ practice yesterday:

He can beat all of them at basketball.

He can talk trash to whomever he wants.

He can come and go as he pleases.

Did Butler make his statement with finality? Not quite.

Butler, in a Q&A with Rachel Nichols on ESPN yesterday:

  • Nichols: “So, you were back in practice today.”

  • Butler: “I was.”

  • Nichols: “I assume you’re going back tomorrow.”

  • Butler: “I am.”

  • Nichols: “Should people think, because you were back in practice, that this is fixed or it’s on its way to being fixed?”

  • Butler: “I think people think that. I think people think that. I would think that, too.”

  • Nichols: “What do you think?

  • Butler: “It’s not. It’s not fixed. Let’s just be honest. It’s not fixed.”

  • Nichols: “Is it fixable?”

  • Butler: “It could be. It could be. But do I think so? No. Because you’ve got to be honest. I’m being honest. Do I think so? No. I’m being honest with you. But is everybody going to be honest? No.”

  • Nichols: “Did you, after the season ended, did you talk to Coach Thibs?”

  • Butler: “Yes, I did.”

  • Nichols: “So, when you guys talked, even over the phone after the season was over –”

  • Butler: “He knows how I felt.”

  • Nichols: “How soon after the season did you tell him how you feel?”

  • Butler: “Four days.”

  • Nichols: “Four days after the season?”

  • Butler: “Four.”

  • Nichols: “How clear were you?”

  • Butler: “Have you ever known me to hide anything?”

  • Nichols: “I’m just asking.”

  • Butler: “Look what happened today at practice. Have you ever known me to hold back? No. I was completely honest about everything, about everything.”

  • Nichols: “And about what you wanted and where you wanted to be?”

  • Butler: [nods]

I appreciate Butler’s straightforwardness and perspective.

Maybe Butler should care more about how he affects others’ feelings, but honesty is so important. As Butler said, he’s not one to hide anything. That’s clearly his response to questions about why he requested a trade just before training camp. From his perspective, he made it known much earlier he wanted to leave Minnesota.

That said, opinions can change. It’d be shortsighted to say he’ll never want to play for the Timberwolves again. He believes he won’t ever want to, but he’s also wise enough to understand he might want to. Better to acknowledge the inherent uncertainty of life than pretend it doesn’t exist.

The bigger question: Do the Timberwolves want him back? It’ll partially depend what other teams offer, but how Minnesota feels internally also matters. Tom Thibodeau could see Butler’s acknowledgment the situation could be fixable as a window to try to fix it. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor could see this entire episode as an embarrassment and just want to move on.

Personally, I’m just hoping for more fireworks at practice today.

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