Jimmy Butler reportedly showed up late to the Timberwolves’ practice, created a spectacle by talking a massive amount of trash and leading third-stringers to a win over the starters then left early.
On ESPN, Stan Van Gundy said he spoke to people in the “Minnesota organization:”
Their main reaction was best practice they’ve had the entire preseason, that Jimmy being back energized people, brought more intensity.
That’s probably true. Butler also probably scared people and annoyed people. There isn’t necessarily a single way to frame the day, though everyone has their own motives and perspectives.
This could just be spinning, the Timberwolves trying to dispel the notion they must trade Butler. But I also wouldn’t put it past a Tom Thibodeau-run organization to look past the chaos and revel in the competitiveness. Thibodeau is uncommonly obsessed with focusing on the moment, and a good practice would please him more than most.
But his job as team president forces him to look deeper. How will Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins react to Butler doing this repeatedly? How will Butler handle Towns’ and Wiggins’ responses? Keeping Butler could sink team chemistry even further.
There are undoubtedly positives for Minnesota with Butler being back around the team, and it’s fine to discuss them. But if they are truly the main takeaway from today’s practice, that’s even more evidence of Thibodeau being out of touch with the interpersonal dynamics of his players.