In 2017, Jimmy Butler joined the Minnesota Timberwolves and led the team to their first playoff appearance since the 2003-04 season. Prior to his arrival, the Timberwolves had assembled a squad of promising prospects. Butler was brought in to aid the franchise in taking the next big step, but things fell apart by the end of his first year with the team.
The Timberwolves’ management attempted to patch things up, but it was too late as Butler had no interest in staying. He requested a trade and his wish was finally granted following months of tension. On paper, the sky was the limit for the young Timberwolves, but Butler grew impatient with some of his teammates. He was critical of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins in particular during his stay, and Butler didn’t hold back against them.
“Wiggins has failed to live up to expectations, and the extension was at the root of Jimmy Butler’s unhappiness in Minnesota,” according to Yahoo Sports, via ESPN.
The success of the Timberwolves has always been dependent on Wiggins’ level of play. As one of the most-hyped prospects of the 2010s, Wiggins was supposed to be a franchise player for the Timberwolves. And while he is currently paid like one, Wiggins’ play has been underwhelming in the past two seasons.
In 2017, the Timberwolves signed Wiggins to a five-year, $148 million deal. The general consensus was that the team should have waited until the summer, as Wiggins’ performances weren’t up to par. Timberwolves’ offseason moves ended up limiting the team’s cap space when the time came for Butler’s extension.
Butler was always very complimentary of Wiggins’ talent in interviews, although rumors had suggested that the former questioned his drive on the court. Based on the latest report, it seems like Butler didn’t believe that Wiggins had earned the extension at the time. While it was no secret that Butler had some ongoing issues with a few members of the Timberwolves, Wiggins’ extension may have strained Butler’s relationship with the Timberwolves beyond repair.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Wiggins is determined to bounce back with a strong season by improving his shot selection. At 24-years-old, time is still on his side to turn it around and reach his full potential as a player. As for Butler, he has moved on to join the Miami Heat, where he will have a chance to potentially contend in the Eastern Conference.