With plenty to say, Wolves’ Butler returns
Jimmy Butler is back with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and his first practice of the season had fireworks.
He caused them — with his words and his play.
Butler, who asked for a trade more than three weeks ago, practiced with the Timberwolves for the first time this season Wednesday. ESPN reported that Butler verbally challenged players, coaches and even General Manager Scott Layden in the practice, during which Butler dominated the team’s scrimmages even when going up against stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
In an interview taped with ESPN after practice, Butler acknowledged that “a lot” of the network’s report was true and that the scene in practice was him just showing passion and being “brutally honest.”
“All my emotion came out at one time,” Butler said in the interview. “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.”
The four-time all-star said he warned Coach Tom Thibodeau before practice that he would let his emotions out if he played, and that is apparently what happened. . . .
Tex Winter, the innovative “Triangle Offense” pioneer who assisted Phil Jackson on 11 NBA championship teams with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, died at age 96. AUTO RACING
There will not be an eighth NASCAR title for Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus.
Hendrick Motorsports will split the driver and crew chief — the longest pairing in NASCAR — at the end of a disappointing season. Johnson has not won a race in 17 months and was knocked out of the playoff in the first round. Johnson and Knaus won their record-tying seventh championship in 2016 but have slumped in the two years since.
Johnson and Knaus were partnered in 2002 when Knaus built the No. 48 team as part of a Hendrick Motorsports expansion. They won a recordtying seven Cup Series titles and made the playoff in all 15 years of its existence. TENNIS
Roger Federer had to overcome a second-set stutter. Juan Martin del Potro and Alexander Zverev had to overcome illness.
All three still advanced at the Shanghai Masters.
Federer, the defending champion, beat Daniil Medvedev, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, in the second round despite being broken late in the second set.
The third-seeded del Potro trailed in the first set and in the tiebreaker but rebounded both times to beat Richard Gasquet, 7-5, 7-6 (9-7).
The fourth-seeded Zverev was also struggling with a cold, but he beat Nicoloz Basilashvili, 7-5, 6-4. SOCCER
Italy’s winless streak reached five matches following a 1-1 draw with Ukraine in a friendly in Genoa — extending the Azzurri’s poor run of form following their failure to qualify for the World Cup.
Ruslan Malinovskyi got the equalizer seven minutes after Federico Bernardeschi’s opener early in the second half.
Italy has recorded only one victory in 10 matches, a win over Saudi Arabia in a friendly in May. In competitive games, the Azzurri haven’t won in more than a year. . . .
Sierra Leone’s two matches with Ghana in African Cup of Nations qualifying were canceled, and it’s unclear whether they will be rescheduled.
The Confederation of African Football called off Sierra Leone’s matches against Ghana set for Thursday and Monday following FIFA’s decision last week to suspend Sierra Leone’s soccer federation for political interference. CYCLING
Team Sky said the Tour de France trophy won by Geraint Thomas was stolen from a cycling show in Britain.
The team said police are investigating after the trophy disappeared during an event in Birmingham, where Team Sky displayed the three Grand Tour trophies won by its riders. GOLF
Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and three-time major champion Jan Stephenson are among five people selected for induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
A 16-member panel of mostly golf administrators also selected retired Augusta National chairman Billy Payne, LPGA charter member and renowned teacher Peggy Kirk Bell and Dennis Walters, who has been inspiring golfers through clinics despite being paralyzed from the chest down since he was 24.
Goosen recovered from a lightning strike to win 33 times worldwide, including U.S. Opens at Southern Hills and Shinnecock Hills. Stephenson won the LPGA Championship, U.S. Women’s Open and du Maurier Classic among her 16 LPGA Tour titles.
The induction will be June 10, the Monday of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.