NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
Jimmy Butler wants out of Minnesota, but it might be a while before the Timberwolves’ guard/forward is traded. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, trade discussions have gone “dormant” for the four-time All-Star.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has said he would honor Butler’s trade request, but league executives are reportedly questioning whether head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau would actually part ways with Butler. Thibodeau acquired Butler last offseason in a trade with the Bulls, reuniting after he coached the star in Chicago.
In the Timberwolves’ opening-night loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Butler recorded 23 points on an inefficient 9-of-23 shooting with seven rebounds, three assists and four steals in 32 minutes. Thibodeau said before the game that he planned to play Butler in “shorter segments” after he missed the entire preseason due to his holdout. Thibodeau, notorious for overextending his starters in playing time, did hold Butler to less court action than his usual allotment (36.7 minutes per contest in 2017-18).
Before Wednesday night’s game, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Thibodeau raised the asking price for Butler after the star’s infamous practice a week ago in which he played with the team’s third-unit and beat his fellow starters in a scrimmage. In the practice, Butler screamed, “you fu**ing need me,” at general manager Scott Layden after leading the third-stringers to a win. Thibodeau reportedly used this bizarre practice moment as leverage in trade talks with other teams.
Teams who talked to Minnesota after his first practice, literally the day after his practice, Minnesota was asking for more then than they were before the day,” Wojnarowski said. “Which tells you this: Minnesota is not trading him. They’re asking for packages that know teams aren’t going to agree to.
Thibodeau will only deal Butler if he can land significant assets in return—future draft picks and young talent—and that seems unlikely at this point, signaling the saga will continue in Minnesota.
Butler dodged trade questions after his team’s 112-108 defeat.