So Jimmy Butler went to his job today. He showed up in Minnesota and participated in a scrimmage and not surprisingly was less than professional. His unhappiness at still being on the Timberwolves roster had disastrous consequences for the organization in what was supposed to be a tune up for the upcoming season.
On the bright side, Butler laced them up which Tom Thibodeau was happy about. Thibs has been trying to get Butler to come back for purely selfish reasons. Without Butler, Minny is sunk. Their young guys are not polished enough, not yet. Thibs needs a proven player. But Butler isn’t up for anymore Minnesota foolishness and on Wednesday he took matters into his own hands the way only Jimmy Butler can do.
The question is, what is next in the Butler playbook?
On Wednesday, he ramped it up with a lot of profanity and verbal abuse against the two players he seemingly has beef with: Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins, according to reports, was cool and took it in stride while Towns was shaken by the hostility. It’s one thing to know Butler’s rep but quite another when you are the victim of his animosity. Thibs and Wolves GM Scott Layden also got some Butler shout outs.
Jimmy Butler, who was late for the scrimmage, checked out once practice was over. Reports indicate he’s not in shape so what is he doing in Cali besides hating on the Wolves front office for bungling this entire thing?
In trying to force the Timberwolves to stop dragging their feet, Butler decided to take matters into his own hands by making the prospect of him anywhere near the Timberwolves team, and especially Towns, a tour of rage. Butler knows how fragile Towns and Wiggins are and he is digging at them over and over again. Wiggins has a laid back motor and can handle whatever Jimmy Butler dishes out, but it’s clear Towns isn’t up for a prolonged Jimmy Butler war. Butler on Towns is like water on rock. Eventually he will go too far and Thibs will put a stop to it. He should have thrown Butler out of practice but Butler knows how to push the Thibs passive button.
The Wolves, and Thibs especially, are acting as if Butler isn’t crazy dude at the party who is about to make it real for everybody. They are being lethargic about getting Butler away from their franchise player, as if they are scared of him.
Going rogue was a risky and ugly strategy for team Jimmy Butler because it makes Butler look more selfish and desperate than he already is. The problem with this Butler playbook is he laid down the gauntlet too late. Why not do this over the summer ala Kyrie?
As for Butler’s explanation once his antics went viral, he blamed it on the emotions of this stalemate. It’s kind of like the angry husband who slapped his wife telling everyone “but she burned up my catfish, I really love her.”
Butler had a straight face when he said:
I’m so passionate and I do love the game and I don’t do it for any other reason except to compete and go up against the best to try to prove that I can hang. So all my emotion came out at one time.
Butler admitted he was wrong which was mature on his part, self awareness comes first. But wrong doesn’t mean it didn’t serve its purpose. He wants the Wolves to know they better trade him or he will make the locker room a place of combat. Or, hell on earth. Butler doesn’t have leverage except for being so relentlessly angry he might be vindictive enough to burn the house down and then walk away in the summer of 2019 and let Towns pick up the pieces, if he can.
Already Butler has won. He has divided the Wolves locker room.