Timberwolves players say they’d welcome back Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler has yet to be dealt by the Minnesota Timberwolves despite his trade demand that surfaced many weeks ago. The disgruntled star has been staying away from the team amid the drama while rehabbing following offseason wrist surgery.
Amid trade deliberations seemingly going nowhere, a report surfaced this week indicating Butler is not inclined to miss any regular-season games — even with the Timberwolves — as long as he’s healthy.
If that is indeed the case, there obviously is a strong likelihood Butler’s presence would create an uncomfortable locker room environment should he rejoin the T-Wolves. But how would his current teammates feel about it?
Several Timberwolves players were asked on Friday about such a potential scenario.
“Jimmy’s my guy,’’ Jeff Teague said, via the Star Tribune. “So, he’s a professional. I know he’s going to come in, work hard. You all know that. He’s a team guy. He gives it all. I think he’d be accepted, but I guess we’ll see.
“… It’d be nice,’’ Teague later added. “Just being honest. It’d be nice to have him back. But it’s not up to me.’’
Taj Gibson, who was Butler’s teammate on the Bulls, indicated the team cannot worry about a player who is not present.
“Whatever happens is going to happen,’’ Gibson said. “Right now, I’m just trying to focus on the guys we have in the locker room right now. They’re putting a lot of work in, guys are coming early. Two hours early, before practice, full sweat. My objective is to go out there and try to help the guys we have here. Hopefully everything has a positive outlook and comes back together. But, right now, I have to just focus on who’s here.’’
Andrew Wiggins — who is said to be a major player in the saga due to Butler’s purported unhappiness with him and Karl-Anthony Towns — even would welcome back the star.
“Jimmy, he’s always a plus, you know?’’ Wiggins said.
All that aside, T-Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau was asked on Friday about the present state of talks concerning a potential Butler deal.
“They’re ongoing,’’ Thibodeau said.