July 3, 2018, 4:50 pm
Jimmy Butler has his sights set East with the goal of teaming up with close friend Kyrie Irving, according to a report from Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The report notes that Butler is “all but fed up with the nonchalant attitude of his younger teammates, specifically Karl-Anthony Towns” and that he has no intentions to sign an extension.
There’s a lot to unpack here, first and foremost bearing in mind the source and who this benefits. Cowley and Butler are apparently close, whether on an agent-reporter or personal relationship is unclear. This report doesn’t benefit the Wolves at all, but puts a little more power in Butler’s court. That, in and of itself, is enough to pause at this report.
Then considering his denial to sign an extension, a move that was unexpected going into the offseason. Butler could be leaving as much as $80 million on the table if he signs an extension now. He was always much more likely to hit the free agent market and cash-in next summer, so the fact that he’s not interested in the reported four-year extension worth $110 million is no real shock, young players notwithstanding.
His teammates do seem to be the crux of the underlying issues here, though. It’s no secret that he’s butted heads with the Wolves’ prominent youth on numerous occasions. The report seems to be using old instances as new revelations in this case, though, and there are no indications that things have escalated to a boiling point. The vocabulary used by Cowley (“all but fed up”) is quite vague and seems like an exaggeration.
It is worth noting that Butler has a long history of clashing with his teammates due to his personality, dating back to Chicago. Cowley even brings up that he “gets lost in how everybody isn’t built the way (he’s) built.”
Unfortunately things could get dicey for Minnesota if things continue to spiral out of their control. It’s difficult to envision Thibs trading Butler and it’s plausible that he could walk for nothing. Perhaps they work something out and Butler re-signs next summer, but he continues to clash with Towns and Wiggins. Would Thibs trade Towns in that case? It’s no secret that Butler craves a championship and wants to dictate the personnel around him to achieve that goal. Butler teaming up with Irving in Boston or Minnesota is near impossible, though.
At this point it’s a situation worth monitoring, but not overreacting to as nothing has reached a breaking point in the relationship as of yet. The report feels like bits of old material packaged together to make it seem new. Butler is a tremendous player but has carried a lot of baggage along the way in his career. When adding in a serious knee injury to his medicals and heavy minutes in his career, he’s a risky long-term bet.
The Wolves are in a precarious position over the next 12 months and their future is still quite unclear.
UPDATE: Joe Cowley later joined KFAN radio station and doubled-down on his statement and went on to slander specific members of the Wolves’ media and concluded that the Wolves should trade Towns.
— Justin Gaard (@jgkfan) July 3, 2018
It’s hard not to see some behind the scenes pot stirring going on here, the question just becomes where it’s originating. Cowley is the mouthpiece, but who is feeding this to him? We may never know, and Cowley doesn’t have the most spotless reputation.
Butler’s agent Bernard Lee stated that “If (Butler) had an opinion to share about anyone or anything in particular they would know and they wouldn’t have to read about it.”
— jace frederick (@JaceFrederick) July 3, 2018
We’ll keep you updated if more revelations come forth.