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Jimmy Butler Tension Coming to a Head in Minnesota

The Timberwolves, their All-Star guard, and head coach all have things to work out.

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NBA: Sacramento Kings at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves and All-Star guard Jimmy Butler have been on a collision course all summer. Butler reportedly turned down a $110 million extension offered by the ‘Wolves in mid-July amid reports he was dissatisfied with the attitudinal approach of teammates, including fellow All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns. Per multiple reports, Butler and Timberwolves execs, including Head Coach/President of Basketball Operations Tom Thibodeau, are set to meet this week.

Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic broke the news.

Krawczynski’s full story lies behind The Athletic paywall. He gives environmental background on the relationship between Butler and his coach.

It’s also a pivotal moment for Thibodeau and the Wolves, who still have not gotten Towns to sign the five-year max contract offer that they extended him in July. Butler is Thibdoeau’s greatest ally in the Wolves locker room, and the coach has surrounded him with familiar faces to try to entice him to stay, including Taj Gibson, Derrick Rose and now Luol Deng.

He also spells out Butler’s contractual leverage:

With the opening of training camp 10 days away, it appears the Wolves and Butler have reached a fork in the road. He can become an unrestricted free agent next summer and has long said that playing for a team that can contend for championships is his highest priority at this stage of his career.

The 29-year-old wing averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists in 36.7 minutes per game for Minnesota last season. He’s scheduled to make $20.4 million in 2018-19, followed by a $19.8 million player option.