”A lot of it’s true. A lot of it is true, but you got to think, I haven’t played basketball in so long and I’m so passionate and I love the game and I don’t do it for any other reason except to compete and to go up against the best to try and prove I can hang. So all my emotion came out at one time. Was it the right way to do it? No. But I can’t control that when I’m out there competing. That’s my love of the game, that’s raw me. Me at my finest, me at my purest. That’s what you’re going to get inside the lines.“
That’s how Jimmy Butler described the practice we wrote about in an interview with Rachel Nichols on ESPN. Jimmy was very forthcoming to all of the questions, but the most important information we got from this interview was not a direct answer. He mentioned honesty 15 times, the truth 11 times and similar examples a few more times in a short interview. Now we know what was the most important part of the trade request from Jimmy’s side.
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“I think that I was honest. Was I brutally honest? Yes. But I think that that’s the problem. Everybody’s so scared to be honest with one another. If you didn’t like the way I handled myself in practice, one of the players come up to me. Somebody say something, anybody. I’m not gonna take it as offense, it’s not personal. “Jimmy, you shouldn’t have done that.” “Yeah, you probably right,” and I would’ve said, “I ain’t hooped in I don’t know how long. I’m passionate about it. I love the game and I love to win.” And that’s all I was out there doing. I went into practice today and I competed.”
Butler obviously did not get along with the two young stars in Minessotta, Karl Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins. What the interview revealed he didn’t doubt their basketball abilities and potential, but their attitude and approach to the game. Known for his passion and love of the game, he obviously can’t see himself being a teammate to players that don’t leave it all on the court.
“KAT. KAT came at me. We’re up in practice and he said, “Anybody can get this work!” I said, “Do it to me.” That’s all that I said. I said, “Every time I get switched out onto you, you pass it.” I’m a competitor, I’m in here talking, come at me. If you score on me, I’m gonna tap you on your butt. You got the best of me — but you got to do it every time. Am I being tough on him? Yeah! Yeah, that’s who I am. I’m not the most talented player. Who’s the most talented player on our team? KAT. Who’s the most god-gifted player on our team? Wigs. Wigs got the longest arms, the biggest hands, can jump the highest, can run the fastest. But like who plays the hardest? Me. I play hard. I play really hard. I put my body on the line every damn practice. Every day in the games. That’s my passion. That’s how I give to the game. That’s how I give to you guys.”
Throughout the interview, Butler pointed out that he told the organization he wants out 4 days after the season ended and that the Wolves had the entire summer to find a trade for him. He insisted he was always honest and consistently told them he wants out. This doesn’t look good for the Wolves now that we know this wasn’t a sudden situation and that Jimmy caught them off guard in a bad moment for a trade. This means they could’ve traded him before the draft when there was much more leverage for Minnesota. Seems Thibs hoped he can change his mind.
“And right now I know Thibs and he’s in there by himself, he locked his door and he’s smiling and he’s laughing. [Looks at camera] Thibs, I know you man, I know you. He’s like, “Yeah, I’ve got him back.” Nichols then asked: “Should people think because you are back in practice that this is fixed, or it’s on its way to being fixed?“. Butler responded: “It’s not. It’s not fixed. Just to be honest, it’s not fixed.“ He continued to say he believes it could be fixed, but in all honesty, he doesn’t see it happening.
It is obvious there is no trust left between Butler and the entire organization. They waited too long, it blew up in their face and this interview will only diminish his trade value even more now that everyone knows how he feels and what his relationship with the organization is. Pat Riley is waiting for their call and it will be interesting to see if Richardson and a 1st round pick will still be on the table.