Timberwolves teammates caught off-guard by Jimmy Butler trade demand

As Jimmy Butler’s trade demand continues to hover over the Minnesota Timberwolves’ organization, longtime teammates Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose acknowledge that they were surprised the declaration came as quickly as it did.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to look at it from a player’s standpoint and a business standpoint,” Gibson told ESPN after Friday’s practice. “He’s trying to do what he got to do, but everybody’s calling him. It’s more of a [situation where] I’ve got to go see him kind of thing. But I worked out with him all summer, so when I said what I meant, it was like a right hook. I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t know. I thought — it looked like from everything things were going good. But sometimes it’s a money aspect, and fans and different players got to understand that. I understand that with being in the league for so many years, but got to try to just see what we can do.nfl jerseys nike cheap

“… One thing about everybody who’s here, from the coaching staff, players, everybody’s familiar with each other, we’ve been through a lot together, so we just got to keep trying.”2

Gibson, who has a close relationship with Butler dating to their time with the Chicago Bulls, said he has tried to give Butler space to make his decisions over the past couple of weeks. Despite Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau’s best efforts to keep his team focused on the present, the Butler saga remains at the forefront of the minds of players and coaches.

“Now in the NBA, everybody has a little bit of freedom to do a little more of what they want,” Rose told ESPN. “And he’s expressing that he don’t want to be here and he want to go somewhere else. I mean, Kawhi [Leonard] did it last year, didn’t he? Like he just didn’t play. Jimmy just came out and said he didn’t want to play here. I had so much [stuff] going on, I couldn’t even focus on what was really going on with the team. I signed early, and I left everything up to Thibs. [Butler’s trade demand] was just a surprise, not only to me, I think to everyone that he wanted to leave. … I didn’t know what the situation is. I just didn’t know it was that bad. Even being here, I didn’t know it was that bad.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Thibodeau did not mention Butler by name during his post-practice media session, trying to keep the focus on the players in training camp. Still, given how many years Thibodeau and Butler shared together in Chicago and Minneapolis, it will be difficult for Thibodeau’s group to get back to regular business until a resolution is reached.

“It’s the NBA, and that’s part of everyone’s job, is don’t allow yourself to be distracted,” Thibodeau said. “You got to be focused on what your job is. My job is to do what’s best for the Timberwolves, and so that’s what we’re going to do. Every day we look at how we can improve our team, how can we acquire talent? Once we acquire talent, then we’re going to coach them as hard and as well as we can, and then we have to get everyone ready to compete. That’s why it’s important for me and for everyone on the team not to lose focus of what is important. So that’s how we’re dealing with everything.”