Thibodeau 'doesn't buy into rumors' Butler is unhappy with Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau is not worried about rumors that star small forward Jimmy Butler is unhappy with the organization and looking to leave the club in 2019.
Butler has a player option for the 2019-20 season. If the All-Star swingman declines the option, he will become an unrestricted free-agent in the summer of 2019. The Timberwolves offered Butler a four-year, $110 million extension this offseason, but Butler turned it down. More money is available to Butler if he enters the open market.
Multiple reports have surfaced this summer which have claimed Butler is looking to leave Minnesota, uncertain about playing with Andrew Wiggins and frustrated with the work ethic of Karl-AnthonyTowns.
Thibodeau, however, isn't concerned.
“I’ve been around a long time, I don’t buy into any of that stuff,” Thibodeau said (via the Star Tribune). “You have to distinguish what’s real and what’s not real. You never heard any of that come from Jimmy’s mouth. It’s always a source close to Jimmy. If Jimmy has something to say to someone, he usually says it directly.”
In his first season with the Timberwolves, Butler averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists, shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from three. He suffered a torn right meniscus in late February and underwent surgery, but did return near the end of the season and helped Minnesota make the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.
A report came out over the weekend that Butler is open to the idea of playing with LeBron James in Los Angeles next season. Butler has also been linked to Kyrie Irving, who can become a free-agent in 2019 as well.
Thibodeau said the Timberwolves did not anticipate Butler accepting the extension offer.
"We wanted him to know how important he is to the future of the organization,” Thibodeau said. “The winning will take care of that. We know the position we’re in. We have a lot to offer him. We think this is the best place for him and it’s up to us to show him the reasons why.”