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Rumor: Timberwolves’ Jimmy Butler beat starters with 3rd-string team

Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Jimmy Butler returned to practice on Wednesday and reportedly beat the starters in a scrimmage with the third-string team, according to Amin Elhassan of ESPN. This was part of a reportedly explosive practice featuring Butler berating teammates, coaches, front-office members, you name it.

It’s not clear exactly who was playing, but the Timberwolves’ third-string team usually consists of James Nunnally, Keita Bates-Diop, C.J. Williams and Luol Deng, while the starters are Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose, Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Taj Gibson.

Butler is a four-time All-Star and one of the best two-way players in the game. The 29-year-old averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last season, while shooting 47.4 percent from the field, 35.0 percent from beyond the 3-point line and 85.4 percent from the free-throw line.

Butler requested a trade from the Timberwolves about three weeks ago. He and his representatives have reportedly grown frustrated by how the Timberwolves have handled his trade request. The swingman has issues with both Wiggins and Towns.

No one could have predicted this saga would drag on for this long, but here we are. The Timberwolves open the 2018-19 regular season on Oct. 17 against the San Antonio Spurs. If Butler is still in a Minnesota uniform that night, it is going to be fascinating to watch that game and see how he interacts with Wiggins and Towns.