But­ler saga drags on in Min­nesota as he skips ex­hi­bi­tion

The Mercury News - - Sports -

Jimmy But­ler was ab­sent as the Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves wrapped up prepa­ra­tions for their pre­sea­son fi­nale Fri­day night.

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 for Fri­day’s 143-121 ex­hi­bi­tion loss in Mil­wau­kee.

Coach Tom Thi­bodeau, speak­ing pub­licly for the first time since Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice, 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 on 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 in the in­ter­view. “But do I think so? No.”

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.

SPURS’ WHITE OUT 6-8 WEEKS >> San An­to­nio point guard Der­rick White will miss six-to-eight weeks af­ter in­jur­ing his left heel in his first game as a starter since re­plac­ing De­jounte Mur­ray, who was lost for the sea­son with a torn ACL.


WOOD­LAND, LEISH­MAN TIED IN MALAYSIA >> Gary Wood­land shot an 11-un­der 61 to tie the course record and join Marc Leish­man in a share of the sec­ond-round lead at the PGA Tour’s CIMB Clas­sic. Wood­land and Leish­man (62) were at 14-un­der 130 on the re­vamped TPC Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) West course. Shub­hankar Sharma (64) and Paul Casey (65) were tied for third, one stroke be­hind. The CIMB Clas­sic marks the first of three PGA Tour events in Asia. LANGER BIRDIES 9 OF LAST 10

FOR SHARE OF CHAM­PI­ONS LEAD >> Bern­hard Langer birdied nine of the last 10 holes at rain-soft­ened Pre­ston­wood for a 10-un­der 62 and share of lead in the PGA Tour Cham­pi­ons’ SAS Cham­pi­onship in Cary, North Carolina. Tom Lehman and Gene Sauers matched the 61-year-old Langer on the course that was dry enough to play af­ter heavy rain from Hur­ri­cane Michael hit the area Thurs­day.


VONN: THIS IS IT >> Lind­sey Vonn has made it of­fi­cial: The 2018-19 ski sea­son will be her last. The great­est fe­male skier in his­tory, Vonn stands just four vic­to­ries short of Inge­mar Sten­mark’s all-time mark of 86 World Cup vic­to­ries, with a chance to pass the Swedish leg­end this win­ter.

“If I can break the record, that would be amaz­ing,” she said in New York. “If I can’t, then it’s been a great ride and I’m still the most suc­cess­ful fe­male and I still think that’s some­thing to be re­ally proud of.”

In ad­di­tion to her 82 vic­to­ries and four over­all cham­pi­onships on the World Cup cir­cuit, Vonn has won three Olympic medals (a gold and two bronze).


BOLT SCORES TWO GOALS IN TRIAL >> Usain Bolt scored twice in his first start for the Cen­tral Coast Mariners in an A-League trial match in Sydney be­fore be­ing sub­sti­tuted with about 15 min­utes re­main­ing.

The re­tired eight-time Olympic gold medal­ist sprinter is try­ing to se­cure a place with the Mariners for this sea­son, which be­gins for the Mariners on Oct. 21 against the Bris­bane Roar.


FED­ERER IN SHANG­HAI SEMI­FI­NALS >> De­fend­ing cham­pion Roger Fed­erer reached the semi­fi­nals of the Shang­hai Masters by beat­ing eighth-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-4, 7-6 (4). Fed­erer, a twotime cham­pion in Shang­hai, will next face 13thseeded Borna Coric. The Croat de­feated Matthew Eb­den 7-5, 6-4. Fourth-seeded Alexan­der Zverev se­cured a spot in next month’s ATP Fi­nals with a 6-4, 6-4 quar­ter­fi­nal win over Kyle Ed­mund.

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