But­ler misses Tim­ber­wolves shootaround

Windsor Star - - SPORTS -

Jimmy But­ler was ab­sent as the Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves wrapped up prepa­ra­tions for their pre-sea­son fi­nale Fri­day. But­ler has de­manded a trade but re­turned to prac­tice with the team Wed­nes­day, a ses­sion that in­cluded him ver­bally chal­leng­ing team­mates and coaches. He was not with the team at Fri­day’s shootaround in Mil­wau­kee. Coach Tom Thi­bodeau said But­ler was do­ing con­di­tion­ing work in Min­neapo­lis and had not been sus­pended.

Asked if But­ler would play in Min­nesota’s reg­u­lar-sea­son opener at San An­to­nio next Wed­nes­day, Thi­bodeau said: “The sit­u­a­tion re­mains fluid.”

But­ler told ESPN fol­low­ing Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice that his is­sues with the Tim­ber­wolves have not been fixed.

“Let’s just be hon­est. It could be,” But­ler said. “But do I think so? No.” Cen­tre Karl-An­thony Towns would not ad­dress what hap­pened at that prac­tice or whether a play­ers’ meet­ing was held Thurs­day. “I think the only thing that needs to be clar­i­fied is we’re ex­cited to pick up a bas­ket­ball here to­day in Mil­wau­kee,” Towns said. Asked if he would be happy to play with But­ler in the sea­son opener, Towns said, “I’m happy to play bas­ket­ball with any­body.” But­ler will be a free agent at the end of the sea­son and would be el­i­gi­ble to sign a five-year deal with Min­nesota at that point. Young stars Towns and An­drew Wig­gins have signed five-year con­tracts with the team.

But­ler told ESPN he was wait­ing for one of his team­mates to stand up to him, but it never hap­pened. “If we would have thought it was se­ri­ous, we would have, but we didn’t think it was that se­ri­ous,” Taj Gib­son said.

The Tim­ber­wolves have had talks with sev­eral teams. Thi­bodeau said he would not com­ment on But­ler’s re­ported crit­i­cism of Towns and Wig­gins.

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