Butler bares teeth as Wolves lick wounds
‘Raw’ star’s practice blow-up leaves Minnesota in turmoil
Disgruntled Jimmy Butler caused a stir at the Minnesota Timberwolves’ practice on Wednesday, and he wasn’t given a chance to do so again on Thursday.
The team called off practice, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic website, who added that there would be no media availability as well.
Later on Thursday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that there was a players-only meeting between Butler and his teammates.
Butler reportedly told the players his issues are with team management and not with his teammates.
However, point guard Jeff Teague said on his Twitter account that The Athletic’s description of the meeting was inaccurate.
“It wasn’t no players meeting you just made that up bro y’all gotta relax with this fake news,” Teague tweeted.
According to ESPN, Butler on Wednesday verbally challenged teammates, coaches and front-office executives. Per the report, an emotional Butler targeted president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau, teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and general manager Scott Layden, at whom he screamed at one point: “You need me. You can’t win without me.”
Butler has demanded a trade this offseason and has called out young stars Towns and Wiggins on a number of occasions.
In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Butler elaborated on his rant.
“I haven’t played basketball in so long. I’m so passionate,” said the 29-year-old, a four-time All-Star who was traded to Minnesota before the 2017-18 season.
“I don’t do it for any reason but to compete. All my emotion came out in one time. Was it the right way? No! But I can’t control that when I’m out there competing. That’s raw me, me at my finest, me at my purest. Inside the lines.”
Butler appears to be convinced not all of his teammates will do what it takes to win.
“I think that’s the part everybody doesn’t see,” Butler said. “I’m not going to say no names. I’m going to be honest: If your number one priority isn’t winning, people can tell. That’s the battle. Now there is a problem between people. That’s where the disconnect is.”
He said the fact he showed up to practice on Wednesday doesn’t mean he’s happy.
“It’s not fixed,” Butler told Nichols. “Let’s be honest.” Can the situation be fixed? “It could be,” he said. “Do I think so? No.”
Russell Westbrook is making a swift recovery from right knee surgery, but his status remains uncertain for the Thunder’s season opener against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.
The seven-time All-Star underwent the procedure on Sept 12 and was slated to be reevaluated in four weeks, which was Wednesday.
“Every day for him, he feels better and better,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I don’t want to say (if he will play). I know you guys want to know that, but that’s too far out and there will be a lot of things that will go into that decision.”
Kerr is joining his San Antonio Spurs counterpart Gregg Popovich on Team USA.
Kerr was named an assistant coach for USA Basketball and will serve on Popovich’s bench along with Indiana Pacers coach Nate McMillan and Villanova coach Jay Wright.
The assignment includes the next two summers, span-
expand, organizers in Montreal want the league to look north of the border.
A Quebec business group led by former federal cabinet minister and senator Michael Fortier has spoken with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the former told reporters.
The group has been meeting with potential investors to arrange financing. Fortier estimated the cost at between $1.5 billion and $2 billion but said no public funding would be required.
against the Warriors as a Laker drew nearly two million viewers, making it ESPN’s most-watched preseason contest ever.
The Lakers’ 123-113 victory on Wednesday night in Las Vegas was watched by 1.98 million people, the network revealed on Thursday. A spokesman said that is the most viewers for an NBA preseason game on any network since at least 1994, which is as far back as the records go.
James developed a rivalry with the Warriors while meeting them in a record four straight NBA Finals while he played in Cleveland. His move to Los Angeles in July put him in the same division as the two-time defending champions.
Jimmy Butler blasted his Minnesota teammates and coaches during practice on Wednesday, with the 29-year-old at one point reportedly screaming: “You can’t win without me.”