That was nine days ago, and Butler remains in Minnesota but not with the team.
Monday marked a week since media day, but when asked about it after the Wolves practiced in Los Angeles, Thibodeau wasn’t offering specifics related to Butler’s status. All he would say is that it’s a “fluid” situation.
“Like I said our job is to focus on the guys that are here,” Thibodeau said. “That’s what we’re doing as we get ready for our next game and our improvement each day. Just understand what your job is.”
Butler couldn’t become a free agent next summer nor would he gain a year of service if he withholds playing services for 30 days. It seems the Timberwolves have yet to start that clock.
Doing so could be a costly escalation. If they tried that, Butler could undergo elective surgery that legitimately sidelines him. Players with his mileage almost always have something to clean up. But once he underwent surgery, his trade value would plummet.
I don’t blame Thibodeau for not answering directly. This is a difficult situation. I just don’t know why he set a one-week timeline in the first place. He put himself in position to face these questions.