Butler misses T-wolves shootaround amid tradedemand drama
MILWAUKEE — 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 at Friday’s shootaround 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 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 in the interview. “But do I think so? No.”
Center 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 fiveyear deal with Minnesota at that point. Young stars Towns and Andrew Wiggins have signed five-year contracts with the team.