Leaks out of Minnesota Timberwolves practice Wednesday paint a picture of a volatile Jimmy Butler lashing out at his teammates and team executives in his first practice since making trade demands.
Butler confirmed reports that he lobbed a profanity-filled tirade aimed mostly at Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and president of basketball operations/coach Tom Thibodeau later Wednesday in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.
Jimmy Butler: ‘A lot of it is true’
Citing his passion for basketball and desire for honesty, the disgruntled Bulls star opened up about Wednesday’s incident.
“A lot of it is true. A lot of it is true,” Butler told Nichols. “But you’ve got to think, I haven’t played basketball in so long, and I’m so passionate, and I love the game. I don’t do it for any other reason except for to compete and go up against the best to try to prove that I can hang.”
Butler: ‘That’s raw me’
Butler acknowledged that his approach may not have been ideal, but that his emotions as a competitor took over.
“All of my emotion came out at one time,” Butler said. “Was it the right way to do it? No. But I can’t control that when I’m out there competing. That’s my love of the game. That’s raw me – me at my finest, me at my purest. That’s what you’re going to get inside the lines.”
Was I brutally honest? Yes
Butler then told Nichols that his desire for brutal honesty played a role in his rant, and that he would prefer to get the same in return from his teammates.
“I think that I was honest,” Butler said. “Was I brutally honest? Yes. I think that’s the problem. Everybody’s so scared to be honest with one another. If you didn’t like the way that I handled myself in practice, one of the players come up to me. Somebody say something. Anybody. I’m not going to take offense. It’s not personal.”
Nichols then asked Butler if his return to practice meant that the volatile situation in Minnesota was fixed.
“I think people think that,” Butler said. “I would think that too. It’s not. It’s not fixed. Let’s be honest. It’s not fixed.”
Butler: ‘KAT came at me’
Butler then addressed the interactions and animosity he has with his teammates, Towns and Wiggins in particular.
“I was seeing red — whatever color was in front of my eyes, it was emotion, it was passion. That’s what it was. This is the truth. I didn’t go at those two. One of them came at me. KAT. KAT came at me.
We’re up. We’re up in practice, and he says ‘anybody can get this work.’ I said ‘do it to me.’ That’s all that I said. I said ‘every time I get switched out on you, you pass it.’ …
Am I being tough on him, yeah? That’s who I am. I’m not the most talented player. Who’s the most talented player on our team? KAT. Who’s the most God-gifted player on our team? Wiggs. … Who plays the hardest? Me. I play hard. I play really hard.
After Wednesday, the standoff between Butler and the Timberwolves seems as far from fixed as it has been. It’s hard to imagine a resolution that involves the four-time All-Star remaining in Minnesota.
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