The acquisition of Jimmy Butler last summer helped the Minnesota Timberwolves end their 13-year playoff drought. However, their newest superstar didn’t seem happy with what they accomplished in the 2017-18 NBA season. After suffering a first-round exit in the Western Conference Playoffs, rumors and speculations started to circulate about Butler’s frustration with his young teammates, specifically Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Days before the training camp starts, Jimmy Butler is expected to meet with Timberwolves Head Coach Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden to discuss his future with the team. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (h/t NBC Sports), Karl-Anthony Towns will only make a decision regarding his contract extension after the Timberwolves handle Butler’s situation.
“There’s been a lot of uncertainty around Jimmy Butler all summer. He hasn’t been back to Minnesota. This is going to be a telltale week for him. Very much so, I’m told, this a last-ditch meeting for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Tom Thibodeau, and how they respond and how Jimmy responds to it will be interesting,” Charania said. “Karl-Anthony Towns, who’s one of the top talents in the league, has yet to sign to sign his rookie max extension, which should be a no-brainer. And I’m told there won’t be any decision on that until this Jimmy Butler situation resolves itself.”
NBC Sports‘ Dan Feldman believes choosing Karl-Anthony Towns over Jimmy Butler is a no-brainer for the Timberwolves. Butler may be an established superstar in the league, but he is already 29 and has dealt with multiple injuries. Despite his defensive issues, Towns continues to prove that the Timberwolves made the right decision to select him as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
At 22, Karl-Anthony Towns is currently considered as one of the most dominant centers in the league. Since entering the league in 2015, Towns has never missed a single regular season game and managed to make himself fit in the modern NBA. Last season, Towns averaged 21.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks on 54.5 percent shooting from the field and 42.1 percent from beyond the arc.
Timberwolves Head Coach Tom Thibodeau will surely love to have both Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns on his roster next season. However, if they can’t fix the relationship between the two superstars, the Timberwolves should already find a new home for Butler. Trading Butler now will be the Timberwolves’ best option than losing him in the summer of 2019 as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return. In exchange for their disgruntled superstar, the Timberwolves could demand young and promising talents who fit the timeline of Towns and Andrew Wiggins.