Disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler’s emotional, profanity-laced tirade Wednesday was directed primarily at Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins – as well as members of the franchise’s front office – during an unexpected practice session appearance, sources told Yahoo Sports.
“I ain’t never seen some [expletive] like that. Jimbo showed out,” one of Minnesota’s players told Yahoo Sports.
It’s been three weeks since Butler requested a trade, and after multiple failed attempts by the organization to accommodate the four-time All-Star and four-time All-Defensive Team member, it all came to a head Wednesday.
Butler showed up to practice late and subbed himself into the scrimmage on the third team to go against the starting group, league sources said.
Throughout the practice, Butler verbally bashed Towns, Wiggins, president of basketball operations/coach Tom Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden, league sources said.
Screaming from the top of his lungs, Butler uttered taunts at his teammates, including “They ain’t [expletive]!” and “They soft!”, league sources said. Most of the players knew the invectives were directed at Towns and Wiggins, sources said.
Butler naturally wasn’t in the best of shape, but he held his own, league sources said.
At one point, Butler found himself guarding Towns in the post. After Towns received the entry pass, Butler yelled, “He can’t do [expletive] against me!” Towns ended up passing the ball out, sources said.
Neither Towns nor Wiggins confronted Butler at any point, league sources said.
Some players were motivated by Butler’s theatrics, but others were distraught and speechless, most notably Towns, league sources said.
When practice concluded, Butler stormed out of the facility and skipped stretching with the rest of his teammates, league sources said. Wiggins did give Butler a hand dap before Butler’s exit.
Towns then gathered the players in a huddle and gave a message centered on everyone keeping their emotions in check, league sources said. According to some of the players, the message felt empty.
The Timberwolves were warned beforehand by Butler that the situation could get uglier if he wasn’t traded before the season, league sources said.
Wednesday’s episode only added to an already embarrassing ordeal that has dragged on because of Thibodeau’s unwillingness to move Butler, which has made an uneasy situation more difficult. Thibodeau had been urging Butler to rejoin the team while team owner Glen Taylor knows Butler has to go.
If this continues, the Timberwolves may have to send others in the organization out the door with Butler.
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