Latest posts by Colton Jones (see all)
- Cavaliers among those pursuing Timberwolves star Butler - September 23, 2018
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- Wizards owner Leonsis on this season: ‘No excuses’ - September 23, 2018
With Jimmy Butler entering the final year of his contract, it would seem natural that talks of an extension would be either already under way or trending in that direction.
However, according to a report by Sean Deveney of the Sporting News, there might be a fly in the ointment. Namely, Andrew Wiggins.
The former No. 1 overall draft pick, Wiggins signed a $145.6 million contract extension last summer and then went out and had a season in which his true shooting percentage dropped from 54.3 to 50.5 and his player-effeciency rating went from 16.5 to 13.0. With 15.0 considered to be average, the Timberwolves paid max money to a below-average offensive wing.
Devaney reports Butler was not impressed with how Wiggins went about last season.
Sources familiar with the situation told Sporting News that Butler is uncertain about playing with Wiggins — Butler had problems last season with Wiggins, his work ethic and his approach on the defensive end of the floor. (Coach Tom) Thibodeau has had similar problems with Wiggins in the past, too, and he had some hope that bringing a tough-minded veteran like Butler into the locker room would spur Wiggins to improve. It didn’t.
The report says Butler is not exactly enamored with the thought of playing with Wiggins in the long term.
The security of a contract extension would be welcome for Butler. But the Wolves are locked into Wiggins for five years, starting next season. If Butler signs on to stay in Minnesota, he could be locking himself into playing with Wiggins for the foreseeable future. That’s risky from Butler’s perspective.
All of which could end with Wiggins being dealt for the second time in his career. He was acquired from the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 along with fellow former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett in exchange for Kevin Love. While Wiggins has had his moments individually, Bennett is out of the league and Love helped Cleveland win an NBA championship in 2016.
Ideally, the Wolves would find a deal to send Wiggins out of town. But his new five-year contract is just kicking in, making a trade almost impossible, unless Minnesota finds a team with cap space willing to absorb Wiggins, or takes back a contract at least as hefty. And there are few of those floating about.