Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota Timberwolves gave the Golden State Warriors all they could handle for three quarters on Friday night before fading in a 17-point loss in Oakland.
FILE PHOTO – November 2, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (23) shoots the basketball against Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) and center Damian Jones (15) during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Butler’s desire to be traded has not faded, but he reiterated late Friday that he has been a good teammate, contrary to popular outside opinion.
“These are my guys,” Butler told Yahoo! Sports postgame. “Look, (my situation) don’t got (expletive) to do with me and everybody in this (expletive) locker room. I love these (expletive). I’m going to keep it one hundred with you. I love these guys. So, when everybody says, ‘Oh, there’s going to be a problem in the locker room.’ Yeah, all right. Does it look like there’s a problem in the locker room?
“I’m going to be the same guy at the end of the day. That’s the crazy part. Nobody knows what’s going on. You can only guess. You can’t only go by what somebody says. But until you’re in here and you notice what’s going on, you have no clue. I’m not worried about nobody, man. My guys are my guys.”
Butler demanded a trade at the outset of camp in September and stayed away from the team with what the Timberwolves said was a conditioning matter.
Reports indicate Butler cannot get on the same page with franchise building blocks Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, but the four-time All-Star disputed that sentiment.
“I don’t give a (expletive) (what people think),” Butler told Yahoo! Sports. “I don’t. I swear to you. Because I know where I’m at with my guys. I know how I am as a person. They can write whatever they want, they can say whatever they want and I can address it the way that I want to. But at the end of the day, I go to war with my guys. Those are my guys. We’re out there trying to win. Nothing is going to come between us. I’m going to play the right way, do what I do, and they know that. They know that.”
Last week, reports circulated that Butler had informed the team he would sit against the Utah Jazz and begin a long layoff he hoped would finally trigger a trade.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau shot down the reports, implying Butler sitting a game here and there was no different than what other teams had done this week, including Kawhi Leonard not playing in the Toronto Raptors’ game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Butler said the report was not a distraction and his teammates know and appreciate where he stands in the ongoing stalemate with management focused on self-preservation.
“My team knows what’s going on and they understand everything,” said Butler. “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.”
—Field Level Media