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Jimmy Butler reportedly has “no intentions” of signing a contract extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves, because of issues with his teammates.
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports Butler is “all but fed up with the nonchalant attitude of his younger teammates” in Minnesota, first and foremost, center Karl-Anthony Towns.
Butler, the All-Star shooting guard the Timberwolves acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bulls last summer, is in the final season of his contract, which has a player option in 2019.
“I just don’t think there have been many people that have understood how important winning is to me, man,’’ Butler said the Sun-Times in late April. “I just had a conversation about that very thing with somebody – not important who – but I put so much into this game and I only play to win. I don’t play for any individual stats or accolades, any of that. And at times I get lost in how everybody is not built the way that I’m built.
“The same with [Minnesota coach] Thibs [Tom Thibodeau]. People don’t understand that he puts so much time into his craft. He understands what it takes. But sometimes I just look around and I don’t understand how or why you all don’t love to get better the way that I do.’’
The 28-year-old Butler spent the first six seasons of his NBA career in Chicago. In his first season with the Timberwolves, he averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals per game, helping Minnesota to reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
Cowley also reported Butler’s plans for the future include attempting to team up with Kyrie Irving, who like Butler, can be a free agent after next season as he has a player option with the Boston Celtics.
Irving, traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics last Aug. 22, said earlier this summer he will not be signing an extension with Boston and intends to test the market.
Cowley also reported:
“A league source close to the situation told the Sun-Times on Tuesday that Kyrie Irving and former Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler are still trying to figure out a way to play together. Whether that means the Celtics try and acquire Butler this summer or the two simply wait a year, both opt out of their player options after the season, and join forces that way.
“Either way, the two former Team USA Basketball teammates are looking for a destination to build an elite backcourt, whether that’s in Celtics green or elsewhere in the East.”