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Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Jeff Teague says his team will just have to march on, whether it wants to or not, without prized teammate Jimmy Butler.
“We got no choice, right?” Teague told reporters. “We have to go out there and jell as fast as we can and see what happens.”
Teague and the T-Wolves opened the preseason Saturday night with a 114-110 win over the defending champion Golden State Warriors. The game meant nothing but the starting lineup may have — with Teague and Derrick Rose teaming to form a double-point-guard approach from coach Tom Thibodeau.
Teague and Rose looked good next to each other and with no Butler sightings expected, could be the wave of the Wolves’ future.
As for Butler, it’s been almost two weeks since he requested a trade. He has not been to camp and isn’t expected to report to the Timberwolves as they search for the best trade partner (or partners, as the case may be).
According to a report from ESPN, the well-regarded and All-Star swingman Butler may have grown frustrated with the work ethic of some of the Timberwolves’ other top players.
“It was an open secret throughout the league last season that Karl-Anthony Towns, and fellow max player Andrew Wiggins, didn’t show the type of consistent work ethic that Butler respects,” ESPN reported. “There were far too many lapses from both players, especially Wiggins, that left Butler and others within the Timberwolves organization shaking their collective heads.
“As usual, Thibodeau figured he could get through the summer, get the players into camp, and put in more work so that his team could improve together. After all, one of the veteran coach’s favorite mantras is that ‘the magic is in the work.'”
Butler’s absence has created trade rumors throughout the league, and the talk includes other members of the Timberwolves — including Teague. One report said that the Phoenix Suns, desperate for help at the point, could help facilitate a Butler trade if it meant getting Teague in return.
For now, though, that’s all speculation. Until it becomes reality, the Timberwolves will just have to learn how to march on minus their main man.