Posts Tagged ‘#JimmyButler’

Jimmy Butler (23) reacted after hitting a three-pointer during the third quarter of Game 3.

With Andrew Wiggins already signed (for better or worse) to a maximum contract, the Timberwolves now aim themselves after their first playoff season since 2004 toward a summer in which they must decide if and how they can sign All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns to similar deals as well.

When or if they do, they also must determine how they can assemble a competitive roster around a team that would dedicate most of its rising payroll to three players.

Could they create some flexibility to improve their three-point shooting and defense by trading backup center Gorgui Dieng, who has three years and more than $48 million left on a contract that looked reasonable in October 2016 when money was flooding into the salary cap from a massive new TV deal and Dieng still was a productive starter. Now it’s a commitment few teams would be willing to make.

Might they try to trade Wiggins and his deal worth at least $146 million before it even begins this next season? Guaranteed such a big contract last fall, Wiggins delivered a season in which he said he “learned a lot” while learning how to play with Butler on the perimeter. He also said, “I don’t think I had the best season,” a statement some Wolves fans consider the euphemism of the year.

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Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor calls decisions to sign both Butler and Towns “big issues” about which he wants to give himself, coach/president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden time to ponder after their just completed 47-victory season and the next season ahead before they start making such big decisions.

“Well, we’re working on it,” Taylor said.

From there, the Wolves must decide whether to re-sign veteran guard Derrick Rose, a Thibodeau favorite who was effective in the playoffs. And can they afford to keep upcoming restricted free agent Nemanja Bjelica, who intrigued at least two NBA teams with money to spend this summer when he became a starter after Butler sustained a February knee injury and played well.

“I don’t know what I can say right now,” Bjelica said after Wednesday’s Game 5 loss. “I hope I will stay here. We will see. We had bad luck to play against Houston in the first round, but we have a great group of people here. First time in playoffs in 14 years is very important for us. I like it here.”

Veteran guard Jamal Crawford has a player option for next season and said he won’t begin to contemplate that decision until he decompresses from this past season. Backup point guard Tyus Jones, a member of Towns’ 2015 draft class, will be eligible to sign a contract extension this summer, and little-used veteran center Cole Aldrich can be paid off $2 million of the nearly $7 million owed him next season if he is waived by June 20.

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Everything hurts on Jimmy Butler these days.

Start with the surgically repaired meniscus in his right knee, and go in every direction from there.

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He’s minutes removed from a Monday walkthrough — make that a limpthrough in his case — and needs the assistance from a Timberwolves public-relations staff member.

There’s obviously a price that goes into the pursuit of winning, and like he did with the Bulls far too often, Butler feels he’s the one footing most of the bill.

“I just don’t think there have been many people that have understood how important winning is to me,’’ Butler told the Sun-Times. “I just had a conversation about that very thing with somebody — not important who — but I put so much into this game and I only play to win. I don’t play for any individual stats or accolades. And at times I get lost in how everybody is not built the way that I’m built.”

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“The same with Thibs [Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau]. People don’t understand that he puts so much time into his craft. He understands what it takes. But sometimes I just look around, and I don’t understand how or why you all don’t love to get better the way that I do.’’

And that’s exactly why his stay in Minnesota could be short.

Butler, and to a certain extent former Bull Taj Gibson, were brought in by Thibodeau to teach toughness to young, talented players such as Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.

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This show features the Blaq Hippie, Jitim Young, Corey CL Crockett & LaVar Hamlin.

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