Butler, a four-time All-Star, responded to reports this week that he'd by firing off a tweet late Monday night denying there was a meeting. At least not yet -- he says it's slated for Tuesday.
exactly why people need to stop believing what you see on the internet.. I didn’t have no damn meeting today... its tomorrow.. i wonder what else people write and people believe hmmm...— Jimmy Butler (@JimmyButler) September 18, 2018
The topic of the meeting, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, will be far more than a preseason check-in. The two sides are going to discuss their delicate relationship in an effort to get on the same page.
Just days before the start of training camp in Minneapolis, Butler and his agent Bernie Lee are planning to meet with Thibodeau on Monday in Minneapolis for what's expected to be a serious conversation on the franchise's fragile state, sources said.
"Whatever needs to be communicated ... will be," one league source briefed on the meeting told ESPN.
The Thibodeau-Butler relationship has been largely strong since the Bulls drafted Butler in 2011, but Butler's partnership with young star Karl-Anthony Towns has been strained and remains an obstacle to 2018-19 team's success --- and perhaps the ability to sign Butler to a new contract next summer, league sources said.
Butler turned down a contract extension offer from the team this summer, a decision that was expected given his far greater earning power next summer. But the strain reportedly goes deeper than money.
Keeping Butler, Minnesota's star player, happy, should be the franchise's top priority moving forward. So if he's unhappy, they should try to fix that -- which they seemingly will try to do on Tuesday. Nonetheless, coach Tom Thibodeau seems largely unconcerned heading into the season.
"The winning will take care of that," Tom Thibodeau told the Star Tribune in late August. "I've been around a long time; I don't buy into any of that stuff. You have to distinguish what's real and what's not real. You never heard any of that come from Jimmy's mouth. It's always a source close to Jimmy. If Jimmy has something to say to someone, he usually says it directly."
Butler has averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists with the Wolves. Because he turned down a contract extension this summer, he is now eligible for a five-year, $187 million max deal from Minnesota next summer if the franchise offers. A max deal elsewhere can be worth four years and up to $139 million, so if he wants to cash in big, it may be in his best interest to settle whatever tension still lies.