Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor says Jimmy Butler situation created a "negative environment" around the team
Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor says that former guard Jimmy Butler had an agenda before he was traded on Monday, which created a "negative environment" around the team.
Taylor told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he had an agreement with the coaching staff and Butler that he would play at least 10 games to start the season and then see where they were in terms of making a deal for the All-Star.
“We have to play at least 10 games and then we would see which teams were meeting their goals, which teams weren’t and the teams that weren’t we thought we would have a better chance to negotiate,” Taylor said. “We were preparing ourselves to do this anyway. But certainly, I guess if we would’ve won all five games out there, it might have been different.”
“Butler was finally dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick, ending a long saga which started this summer in which Butler expressed his desire to be traded.
“I don’t think it was all under our control," Taylor said. "I wish it would’ve been more under our control, but I think we saw Jimmy had an agenda and we had to work around that.”
"They were positive to Jimmy and positive about playing and working hard,” Taylor added. “But … just watching their action on the floor and dealing with the toughness of a fourth quarter, I don’t think it was quite there,” Taylor said. “The only thing I can relate back is they probably were under pressure they didn’t realize as young people. … It’s a negative environment.”
Minnesota has won its last two games, but still sit at 6–9, the second worst record in the Western Conference.
Butler made his debut with the 76ers on Wednesday, playing 33 minutes and scoring 14 points in a loss to the Orlando Magic.
Taylor said that head coach Tom Thibodeau, who has two plus years and more than $16 million left on his contract, will be evaluated on the success of the trade.
“The truth is, we dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, so it’s going to be harder than it would be if it was a true start of a season. We’re just going to have to make that up. That’s how I’m going to do it," he said.