Disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler rejoined the team at practice on Wednesday for the first time since requesting a trade three weeks ago, and let's just say ... . Butler was reportedly talking all sorts of trash while leading the third-string players to a win over the starters, and apparently shouted expletives toward general manager Scott Layden.
So yeah, that whole thing about Butler seamlessly returning to the Wolves is kind of off the table. After practice, Butler sat down with ESPN's Rachel Nichols and admitted that much of what has been reported is, in fact, true. He expanded on his mindset:
"You gotta think, I haven't played basketball in so long, and I'm so passionate and I love the game, and I don't do it for any other reason except for to compete and go up against the best to try to prove that I can hang," Butler said. "So all my emotion came out at one time. Was it the right way to do it? No. But I can't control that when I'm out there competing. That's my love of the game. That's raw me -- me at my finest, me at my purest -- that's what you're gonna get inside the lines.
"I think that I was honest. Was I brutally honest? Yes. But I think that's the problem. Everybody's so scared to be honest with one another. If you didn't like the way that I handled myself in practice, one of the players come up to me. Somebody say something -- anybody. I'm not gonna take it offensively -- it's not personal. 'Jimmy, you shouldn't have done that.' 'Yeah, you probably right.' And I would have said, I ain't hooped in I don't know how long. I mean, I'm passionate about it. I love the game and I love to win. And that's all I was out there doing was competing, playing hard, doing what I'm supposed to do on the basketball floor."
Butler refused to name names, but also said that not everyone on the Wolves has winning as their top priority.
Wow, that's a lot to unpack. Butler's passion is second to none in the NBA, and it certainly came out on Wednesday. The question is where do they go from here? The Miami Heat are reportedly still interested in trading for Butler, but until he's dealt he's still under contract with the Wolves. Unless they tell him to stay home, we have to assume that he'll keep showing up for practice and, eventually, games.
Butler reiterated in the interview with ESPN that the situation in Minnesota is "not fixed," so we'll just have to wait and see what the next move is. Needless to say, this is the most intriguing NBA story as we're just one week away from regular-season games.