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.
Jimmy Butler will meet with Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden on Monday to "have honest conversations about the All-Star's future with the team," sources tell @TheAthleticMIN. Story upcoming.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) September 15, 2018
Butler meets with President/head coach Tom Thibodeau and Minnesota officials this week. Uncertainty has surrounded Butler and the team as the All-Star enters contract year. https://t.co/mMiVLtTT0O— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 15, 2018
Jimmy Butler's meeting w/ Minnesota management early next week as @JonKrawczynski reports. Butler, Tom Thibodeau have had a strong relationship for years, but there are organizational issues that need to be sorted. Source on meeting: "Whatever needs to be communicated...will be."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 15, 2018
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.