Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert was sent home by the team after throwing a punch at teammate Kyle Anderson during a timeout in the second quarter of their vital 113-108 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. Anderson, who was not seriously hurt, remained in the game as the Wolves went on to clinch the No. 8 seed in the Play-In Tournament. 

"We made the decision to send Rudy Gobert home after the incident in the second quarter," Timberwolves president Tim Connelly said in a statement. "His behavior on the bench was unacceptable and we will handle the situation internally."

Mike Conley added that Gobert has apologized in the team group chat and the Wolves are hopeful they can move past the incident. "We'll speak about it and move on," Conley said. "We're grown men."

While head coach Chris Finch tried to address the team, Anderson and Gobert were involved in a heated discussion that, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, centered on defense and rebounding. After Anderson told Gobert "shut the f--- up bitch," the Frenchman threw a punch at Anderson's chest, though it did not land with much force. 

Gobert was quickly pushed back by Taurean Prince, who was the first to react, and the rest of the team and coaching staff then separated the two players before anything else could happen. Gobert was escorted back to the locker room while the game continued, then eventually told to go home for the day. 

In the aftermath of the incident, Chris Hine of the Minnesota Star-Tribune shared a quote from Gobert that is to be included in a soon-to-be-published story about Anderson's leadership. It gives an interesting insight into the relationship between the two. 

"Kyle wants to win, and sometimes he's a little aggressive in the way he talks, but I don't take it personally," Gobert said. "I receive it in a positive way because it comes from a place of wanting me to be the best Rudy I can be and wanting us to win. I love his competitiveness, love the way he plays the game. The way he makes others around him better. He's been a huge part of this year."

Gobert arrived in Minnesota last summer in a blockbuster trade that will be dissected for years to come due to the price that the Timberwolves paid: Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, four first-round picks (2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029) and a first-round pick swap (2028). 

They did so with the hope of breaking into the upper echelon of the Western Conference, but the move has not worked at all. After winning 46 games last season, they were 41-40 entering Sunday and locked into a spot in the Play-In Tournament. Injuries played a part, to be fair, but even so, it's clear this roster configuration does not work to the extent the front office was hoping. 

It's unclear at this stage whether Gobert will face further punishment from the team. Their next game will be in Los Angeles to face the Lakers in the first round of the Play-In Tournament. If the Timberwolves win that game, they get the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. If they lose they will host the winner of the No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans and No. 10 Oklahoma City Thunder game in a winner-take-all matchup for the No. 8 seed in the playoffs.