Jimmy Butler to T-Wolves teammates: ‘Don’t worry about Thibs’
Jimmy Butler remains with the Minnesota Timberwolves despite an offseason trade demand that has sent the organization into a tailspin.
While the disgruntled superstar evidently will remain with the team at least for the foreseeable future, Butler has assured his teammates that he will handle frequently ornery and demanding head coach Tom Thibodeau.
“Don’t worry about Thibs. I got him.” Butler told Shams Charania of The Athletic (subscription required), ahead of Wednesday’s season opener against the San Antonio Spurs. “Just hoop, I told them, and I think that I can get Thibs to relax a little bit.”
Butler, who made good on his word to play the role of good soldier as long as he with the team, was indeed on the court during Wednesday’s season-opening loss to the San Antonio Spurs, contributing 23 points in 32 minutes of action in a 112-108 loss.
Thibodeau is certainly not known as a players’ coach, although the mocking “Timberbulls” moniker about the composition of the T-Wolves roster may indicate otherwise. Butler, however, shares similar philosophies with Thibs about hard work and defense, something that goes back to their days with the Bulls when the head coach molded him into the player he is today.
That’s why Butler believes he knows how to translate Thibodeau’s defensive demands for his teammates.
“He’s never going to say anything about offense as long as you go down there and play with effort on the defensive end and get a couple stops,” Butler said. “It’s whenever you’re not getting stops when he starts yelling.”
Speaking of yelling, Butler recently shared some interesting thoughts on how he’ll approach his role as team leader so long as he’s with the T-Wolves.
What’s interesting, though, about Butler’s comments about Thibodeau is the context of the current untenable situation. Given how Thibodeau allegedly did everything possible to convince Butler to remain with the team — to no avail — the question remains who will serve as a buffer from Thibs’ demanding ways for the players left behind once Butler departs?