Minnesota still could try to hang on to Butler and hope that improved play from its other two stars changes Butler's mood, or it could wait until February's deadline to trade him, hoping that a contending team decides to push it chips to the middle by giving Minnesota a king's ransom.
First, The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski reported (subscription needed) that owner Glen Taylor not only came up to the Twin Cities to observe Sunday's practice, but that he also met face-to-face with Butler prior to the team taking the court.
Butler missed most of training camp and the preseason after requesting a trade earlier this summer.
The Timberwolves negotiating stances reportedly have exasperated potential trade partners and Butler, who reportedly called out management and some teammates last Wednesday during his explosive return to practice.
The Wolves face Cleveland in their first home game on Friday, and the crowd at Target Center that cheered so loudly for Butler in his standout debut season in Minnesota is more than likely to produce the opposite reaction if he plays against the Cavaliers, considering the dysfunction his demand has caused.
"At the end of the day, I just wanna go out there and win basketball games", Butler said Sunday, per the team's Twitter account. "It ain't going to change the way that I play". "Make sure I'm healthy, compete, because that's what I love to do, and do it for the guys in the same jerseys as me". "Please come on with it".
Jimmy Butler practiced with the Timberwolves on Sunday, and while he wouldn't comment on if he'll play in the season opener on Wednesday, Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau expects Butler to play.
Does anyone question whether or not Jimmy Butler can go out and play on opening night? "One thing about him is he stays in great shape year-round in terms of working out, strength and conditioning, shooting, all that stuff", Thibodeau said. "We're always going to do what's best for the Timberwolves". Just because I want to help everybody to be better.
"You have to know the specifics of the trade to say I would or wouldn't do a specific thing, but the idea to trade for Jimmy Butler, I like that idea for Miami".
The Timberwolves canceled practice Thursday, though Butler told Nichols he did meet with his teammates. "And I'm so passionate". "He's always been able to overcome things, so that's one of his great strengths. That's what you're going to get inside the lines".