Jimmy Butler sat down for an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that aired on SportsCenter Wednesday evening, after he blasted teammates — and both head coach/president Tom Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden — in his first practice with the Timberwolves this summer.
"All my emotion came out at one time."— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 10, 2018
Jimmy Butler sat down with @Rachel__Nichols to talk about today's practice and what led to it. See more on SportsCenter at 6 ET and NBA Countdown at 7 ET pic.twitter.com/znPpDwyW9y
In the interview, Butler said he doesn’t think the situation in Minnesota is fixable and the energy he put out during Wednesday’s practice was a byproduct of his passion and will to win basketball games.
Butler showed up at Timberwolves practice on Wednesday — after weeks away from the team following his request to be traded elsewhere — and according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, he lit into everyone in the building, from young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to coach and president Tom Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden.
According to Wojnarowski, Butler appeared at practice and subbed himself into the game unexpectedly. He took the second and third-string players and defeated the starters in practice.
At one point, Butler found himself guarding Towns in the post and when the big man received the entry pass, Butler yelled, “He can’t do [expletive] against me!” and Towns ended up kicking the ball out, league sources said.
Some players were motivated by Butler’s theatrics, but others were distraught and speechless, and most notably Towns, league sources said.
Wojnarowski used the word “vociferous” to describe how the all-star verbally attacked those around him. At one point, he yelled at Layden, “You f****ng need me! You can’t win without me.”
At one point in a scrimmage, sources said, Butler turned to GM Scott Layden and screamed, "You (bleeping) need me. You can't win without me." Butler left teammates and coaches largely speechless. He dominated the gym in every way. Jimmy's back.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 10, 2018
If you were wondering what vociferous meant, we are here to help:
vo·cif·er·ous, vōˈsifərəs, adjective
meaning: (especially of a person or speech) vehement or clamorous.”he was a vociferous opponent of the takeover”
And if you did look it up, you weren’t the only one. The word “vociferous” shot up in Google searches in the moments immediately after Woj’s tweet. Its definition: “vehement or clamorous.”
Here were some reactions from Butler’s teammates, including Anthony Tolliver and Jeff Teague.
Here's Tolliver and Teague on Butler, who did practice today - neither would fully confirm. Another player via text when I asked how Butler looked: "I'm legally blind!" Also, RIP me. I have now officially died on the hill of Butler never wearing a #Twolves uniform again. pic.twitter.com/nk20gWmm7B— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) October 10, 2018
Just trade Jimmy Butler already, Thibs.
This was a power move by Butler, to say the least. Showing up at practice after requesting a trade is one thing. But then blasting everyone around him, knowing full well that would get to the public? That’s god-level stuff right there.
Butler requested a trade on Sept. 20, yet two and a half weeks later, the Wolves are no closer to finding a deal. The NBA’s regular season begins on Oct. 17. Time is running out before Minnesota officially enters the season with Butler on the roster. And if he’s on the team on opening night, best believe he’s gonna suit up and play.
When Butler first requested a trade, he listed the Clippers, Knicks, and Nets as preferred destinations. He later expanded that list to include the Miami Heat, and his hometown Houston Rockets have also been interested in trading for the all-star.
But Thibodeau has not come any closer to finding a trade since this charade began. Opposing teams have said his asking price is outrageous. The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski reported the Wolves want a package that includes a replacement wing, a promising young player, and a draft pick. Butler is expected to become a free agent in 2019. No team will give Minnesota that without assurances he’ll re-sign long-term.
The Miami Heat, though, offered promising young wing Josh Richardson and a protected first-round pick in their offer for Butler. And the Rockets offered Eric Gordon, but have been reluctant to include bulldog wing PJ Tucker in any deal.
All we know is that the Wolves need to find a deal, and fast. Otherwise, things could get more vociferous as we approach opening night.