- Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler requested a trade from the team in mid-September and cited interest in landing with the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, or Los Angeles Clippers, later adding the Miami Heat.
- The Timberwolves' front office is internally divided on whether or not to deal the four-time All-Star, with coach and president Tom Thibodeau reportedly stifling trade talks and owner Glen Taylor pushing to reach a quick deal.
- With regular-season NBA games less than a week away, Butler reported to practice Wednesday for the first time since requesting the trade.
- Butler is said to have mouthed off at teammates throughout the day, screamed "You f—ing need me. You can't win without me" at Timberwolves general manager Scott Layden, and beat the starters with a team of third-stringers in a team scrimmage.
In his first practice back with the Minnesota Timberwolves since demanding a trade in mid-September, four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler interrupted practice with a verbal tirade against his teammates, coaches, and front-office executives, according to reports.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Butler mouthed off at Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins throughout the day's affairs. At one point during a scrimmage, the star forward turned to Timberwolves general manager Scott Layden and screamed "You f—ing need me. You can't win without me."
Before Butler requested the trade, rumors began to swirl about escalating tensions between Butler, fellow Minnesota stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and the team's front office. Those reports appeared to be confirmed with Butler's conduct Wednesday afternoon.
In an appearance on "The Jump," ESPN's Amin Elhassan reported that he was told Butler was "yelling and cussing people out" before adding that he teamed up with Minnesota's third-string players to beat the starters during practice.
Shortly after practice ended, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News reported that Butler would break his prolonged silence on the issue Wednesday night in a tell-all interview with ESPN.
The situation in Minnesota has gotten progressively uglier since Butler first requested a trade to the New York Knicks, the Brooklyn Nets, or the Los Angeles Clippers, and later added the Miami Heat. Wolves coach and president Tom Thibodeau tried desperately to convince Butler to stay on with the franchise, and reportedly even went so far as to undermine possible trade offers with rival teams.
With Thibodeau stifling potential opportunities, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor began to get involved in trade discussions. According to Wojnarowski, Taylor started to field offers for Butler at the NBA's board of governor's meeting on September 22.
"He basically said, 'If you don't get anywhere with [Layden] and you've got something good, bring it to me,'" a high-ranking league official told ESPN.
The Heat emerged as a favorite to land the star forward, as their front office was "aggressive" in pursuing Butler and has multiple intriguing players available to trade in return. But trade talks reportedly stalled last week after the two teams struggled to reach an agreement on the price of a trade. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Wolves requested guard Josh Richardson, second-year forward Bam Adebayo, and a first-round draft pick in exchange for Butler, who will become a free agent next season.
Although Butler has been clear from the beginning that he would not miss any regular-season games — or forfeit any regular-season salary checks — in the pursuit of a new landing spot, it appears that he is perfectly willing to sabotage team activities to push trade negotiations forward.
With less than a week until NBA regular-season games begin, Minnesota will be hard-pressed to handle this situation before it spirals even further out of control.