After winning a couple of games in a row and feeling better about themselves, the Timberwolves ran headfirst into the brick wall that is the Golden State Warriors Friday night. That 116-99 loss was a reminder of the reality for Minnesota on the court.
The reality of its off-the-court distraction also returned after the game — the talk was back to “all Jimmy Butler radio.” With his trade demand hanging out there, Butler status — and how it impacts the team this season and going forward — is the focus of all the attention around the Timberwolves.
Just don’t tell Butler he’s a distraction, especially after he sat out a game, officially for “general soreness” although pretty much everyone around the league thinks it was about sending a message. Here is what Butler told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports after Friday’s loss.
“No, because they know the truth,” Butler told Yahoo Sports. “My team knows what’s going on and they understand everything. As much as this is basketball, it’s a business and everybody knows that. I tell everybody, ‘Hey, if you’re nicked up, sit out. If you can’t go out there and give everything you got without worrying about getting injured, sit out. Injuries do happen, but you can prevent them if you’re not right.
“That goes for everybody in this league. You have to take care of yourself because at the end of the day, every organization, their job is to take care of themselves. You have to look out for you.”
Butler is looking out for himself, which is why he’s trying to get traded (if he’s moved Butler can re-sign with that team for a five-year, $190 million max contract next summer, as an unrestricted free agent he can get “only” four years, $139 million).
All that talk is a distraction. Maybe Butler doesn’t feel it, but the Timberwolves have played like a distracted team — particularly on defense — much of the season.
The Timberwolves have a back-to-back coming up, on the road at Portland Sunday then at the Clippers Monday). Butler told Nick Friedell of ESPN he may sit out one of those.
“I let them know,” Butler said after Friday’s 116-99 loss to the Golden State Warriors. “They don’t know how my body feels. So if I’m nicked up, then you can count on that. I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t know what we plan on doing tomorrow. Obviously, I got to get some treatment along with a lot of other guys. But we’ll see whenever Sunday and Monday gets here.”
Butler’s status for those games — and why he’s sitting out — will be all the talk around the team for the next 48 hours. But it’s not a distraction, right?