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Tom Thibodeau noncommittal on Jimmy Butler extension

Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler’s impending extension is one that has come to the forefront as rumors of his unhappiness with young teammate Karl-Anthony Towns broke last week, implying he won’t sign an extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves. President and head coach Tom Thibodeau remained rather mum on the issue, offering little when it comes to contractual progress, but noting Butler’s value to the team.

“We know how important Jimmy is to the team,” said Thibodeau, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “But we don’t talk about contract negotiations or anything like that so just get ready for the season.”

Thibodeau has always played it close to the vest and refused to show his hand when it comes to offseason negotiations, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s lobbying to lock up an extension.

Butler was the singular factor attracting other big-time free agents like Taj Gibson, Jamal Crawford, and later Derrick Rose — getting the Timberbulls together and coming back from injury right in time to lock up the eighth seed in the West.

Though Minnesota faced an early exit in the postseason, it was the first time in 14 years for the city, as well as a major step forward for this young team.

Butler’s happiness with his teammates could also affect his role as a veteran leader, as he was rumored to potentially looking at teaming up with Kyrie Irving as a free agent in 2019.