Jimmy Butler has no intentions of missing a regular season game despite his desire to escape the Minnesota Timberwolves and head coach Tom Thibodeau will gladly suit up his star forward, still unsure how much action he will get during the season-opener against the San Antonio Spurs.
Butler is coming off a trash-talking, s**t-spewing, a**-handing practice last Wednesday where he took the third stringers and beat out the starters in a short scrimmage, but Thibodeau will still play it careful after he missed all the team's preseason games.
“We're planning on playing him,” Thibodeau said, according to Kent Youngblood of The Minnesota Star Tribune. “If he feels good, he'll be ready to go.”
This is what Thibodeau has wanted all along, for Butler to suit up and play — though the coaching staff will have to closely monitor his stint on the floor to avoid injury.
“It's more conditioning,” Thibodeau said. “There is a different level to each step. There are summer workouts and fall workouts. And there is a preseason level. And that changes when you get to the regular season. So, once he's out there, and it's a lot more physical? You want to see how he responds to that.”
Jimmy Butler might have busted his teammates in practice, but doing the same in 35-plus minutes in an NBA game can prove a different animal for the four-time All-Star, as he promised to keep on playing until the front office finds a suitable trade for him — still intent on leaving at the end of this 2018-19 season.
We'll see how this continues to develop for the Timberwolves.