The Minnesota Timberwovles will be out tonight without two of their key players, allegedly missing a player's absence for asking to sit outside.
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said that tonight-trained swingman Jimmy Butler would miss the home game against today's Utah Jazz ( 8 ET, NBA League Pass ). The team and Butler said the absence was due to "general pain and precautionary respite," but Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic report otherwise.
According to Charania and Krawczynski, Butler decided to sit tonight ] and this could lead to a prolonged absence from the lineup. Here's more of Krawczynski:
Jimmy Butler does not play in the Timberwolves game against Utah on Wednesday night, the last step in a six-week clash between the angry All-Star and the team that has not yet granted his desire to trade , the league sources told The Athletic.
Butler appeared on Wednesday morning to shoot the team, but did not attend, sources said. After the meeting, he had a brief talk with coach and President Tom Thibodeau about his decision and declined the interview requests.
Thibodeau said he would expose "precautionary rest and pain". But the Timberwolves had a free day off on Tuesday before starting a trip to the West Coast on Tuesday. Thibodeau denied that the absence had to do with the trade request that had been with this team since the start of the training camp.
"He missed the entire training camp, basically he's in general pain," said Thibodeau.
Rachel Nichols of ESPN, however, spoke with Butler, who "strongly represses every thought he voices tonight in protest." Butler told her that he plans to be in the arena for today's match.
– Rachel Nichols (@ Rachel_Nichols) October 31, 2018
By ESPNs Adrian Wojnarowski, Butler has also expressed his interest in taking the team on its journey to the Golden State Warriors to accompany on Friday ( 10:30 ET, ESPN ). The Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers remain among the teams interested in butler trading, but there is a belief that Thibodeau is not prepared to negotiate a deal seriously.
Thibodeau discussed with Butler and the team's medical team his absence for Wednesday's game. However, Butler has told his colleagues that he wants to play against the Warriors on Friday night, sources told ESPN.
Butler and his representative continue to reaffirm the frustration that Minnesota's inactivity in response to its trade proposal is pushing its owner Glen Taylor to accelerate the process, sources said.
Rachel Nichols of ESPN reiterated Wojnarowski's report
Butler's name had been in trading rumors since the training camp began. After today's game against Utah, the wolves have a road trip in five games in front of them and Thibodeau would not say for sure that Butler would be on the upcoming trip.
Thibodeau said Butler's absence this evening is not related to any upcoming trades
– Chris Hine October 31, 2018
Thibs would absolutely not say Butler would be on the upcoming trip
– Kent Youngblood (@BloodStrib) October 31, 2018
The point guard, Jeff Teague, will also miss the game this evening over a knee bruise. There is some good news on the horizon for the wolves, though striker Andrew Wiggins (right quad bruise) is expected to play. Thibodeau told reporters that the team would wait for Wiggins to play in the pre-match warm-up before settling for his status tonight. Wiggins suffered his injury on 22 October against the Indiana Pacers and has missed the last three games of the wolves.
Wiggins averaged 15.8 points, three rebounds and two assists per game this season. Teague averages 12.7 ppg and 6.9 rpg, but shoots 35.9 percent this season. Butler leads the Wolves (22.5 ppg) and had 32 points in the team's last game, a home win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.
The Houston Rockets reportedly recently attempted to resume trading talks to acquire Butler, and Minnesota reportedly offered four first-round picks.
An important date for the calendar regarding Butler's quest for Houston is October 31, reports Zach Lowe of ESPN. This is the two-month anniversary in which Houston acquired Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss from the Phoenix Suns (for veteran Ryan Anderson). At this time, Houston could include one or both of their salaries in a trade package.
After all the disruptions caused by Butler's trade inquiry, which became public a week before the training camp began, no agreement has been reached.
According to several reports, Butler and Wolves owner Glen Taylor came to an agreement that settled on The Wolves continued to seek a deal for butlers and butlers willing to play at par. Taylor recently confirmed this in an interview with Sid Hartman of Star Tribune .
Per Wojnarowski could have Taylor more interested in future draft picks than Thibodeau. However, these picks could become important trading assets for the wolves that can be used in other stores, or they can encourage additional teams to take over the formidable contract of the great man Gorgui Dieng in a deal.