Disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves star swingman Jimmy Butler appeared on ESPN and indicated he has not changed his stance on wanting to be trading despite practicing with the team Wednesday.
“It’s not fixed,” Butler told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “Let’s be honest.”
When Nichols asked Butler if it could be fixed, he responded, “It could be. Do I think so? No.”
Butler requested a trade three weeks ago and practiced with the team for the first time Wednesday. He admitted to an earlier ESPN report that he “was vociferous and emotional at times,” directing harsh words at president/coach Tom Thibodeau, general manager Scott Layden, center Karl-Anthony Towns and swingman Andrew Wiggins.
“A lot of it is true,” he told Nichols. “I haven’t played basketball in so long. I’m so passionate. I don’t do it for any reason but to compete. All my emotion came out at one time. Was it the right way? No. But I can’t control that when I’m out there competing. That’s raw me, me at my finest, me at purest. Inside the lines.”
Butler reportedly yelled in the direction of Layden, “‘You (bleeping) need me. You can’t win without me.'”
While he didn’t talk about that supposed incident, he did admit to being tough on Towns and Wiggins.
“I’m not the most talented player on the team,” Butler said. “Who is the most talented player on our team — KAT. Who is the most God-gifted player on our team — Wiggs. Who plays the hardest? Me. I play hard. I put my body (on the line) every day at practice, every day in games. That’s my passion. Everybody leads in different ways. That’s how I show I’m here for you.”
Butler had previously refused Thibodeau’s requests to re-join the team, according to multiple reports from The Athletic.
His return to practice, some opposing GMs told AmicoHoops, is Butler’s way of avoiding any missed paychecks — as opposed to rescinding his trade offer.
The Timberwolves reportedly came close to trading Butler to the Miami Heat over the weekend, but the deal fell apart at the final stages. ESPN reported the Heat are still heavily in pursuit of Butler.