Minnesota Timberwolves: Tom Thibodeau needs to trade Jimmy Butler or he needs to lose his job

There’s an alternate universe where Fred Hoiberg is the coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. That alternate universe team has three All-Stars on it and they are ready to challenge the Golden State Warriors of the world for the Western Conference title. Karl-Anthony Towns is even more MVP-like in that universe, Andrew Wiggins actually plays defense and Zach LaVine is throwing down monstrous dunks in Timberwolves bright-as-hell safety-vest green.

That, of course, is not reality. Sadly, most alternate universes are not reality.

In reality, the Timberwovles are living through a nightmare that keeps sports teams executives up at night. One of the current studs on the team has requested a trade and that is just over a year after his joining the team. Welcome to Jimmy Butler’s world, we are truly living in it now.

Butler pretty much forced his way out of Chicago two off-seasons ago because he couldn’t get along with anyone. It looks like that has come to fruition in Minnesota, too. Most thought that the Tom Thibodeau and Butler reunion was going to be a nice marriage that would result in deep playoff runs for the franchise. The theory was that Butler would be a middle man between the barky coach and the young players. It appears that Butler has just become his own version of Thibodeau and there’s not enough room in the Timberwolves locker room for that much stubbornness.

We don’t know who Butler is truly mad at or non-compatible with. It could be Towns or Wiggins or owner Glenn Taylor or maybe it has all turned upside down and Thibodeau is the reason? Either way something isn’t clicking and Butler’s ticket out of town should have been punched long before the week prior to training camp.

In typical Timberwolves fashion, this whole situation has been butchered, sautéed and dipped in Cherry Berry. Taylor should have never given Thibodeau the keys to the whole franchise. Taylor then should have then made Thibodeau either trade Butler or fire him very early in the off-season. It is becoming clearer and clearer that this whole Butler mess is the reason Towns hasn’t signed his max contract extension. Towns isn’t holding out for money, because the Timberwolves have offered as much as they possibly can. Towns isn’t happy because Butler is still here. If you, Taylor and Thibodeau, aren’t doing everything humanly possible to make Towns happy, you’re doing your franchise and it’s fans a disservice.

Towns is the future of the franchise and, frankly, one of the bright futures of the NBA. Towns is super talented on the court and seems to be the nicest guy off the court, too. Towns is someone you need to build around. Sure, if Butler wanted to come along for the ride, well, that would have been great, but that isn’t happening.

Now here the Timberwolves sit with multiple issues on their plate. Their best player, Towns, hasn’t signed an obvious extension and is, to at some level, unhappy. Your basketball czar, Thibodeau, has rebuilt his Chicago Bulls rosters with the best player that he coached there, Butler, requesting a trade out of Minnesota.

Nothing has gone right for this franchise, I was going to say this offseason, but in reality, not many things have fully meshed since Flip Saunders was fired in the middle of the 2004-05 season.

Training Camp starts next week. Media Day is on Tuesday. It’ll be awkward. All of Timberwolves history is awkward. Nothing will be as awkward as the Thibodeau having to trade his pride and joy away and he better do it quick.

Maybe, one thing could be more awkward. If Thibodeau refuses to trade Butler. That should force Taylor to fire Thibodeau or trade away Butler himself during training camp or maybe even both.

We are in a universe where Thibodeau will have to trade Jimmy Butler or lose his job. That seemed like it would have to be an alternate universe just a few months ago, but now is a harsh, harsh reality.


Sam Mitchell’s hot take on the media is, well, pedestrian

Sam Mitchell probably knows more about basketball than me. He should, anyway. After a 13-year playing career and being either an assistant or head coach in the Association since 2002 should result in some knowledge. You’d think that knowledge would also include knowing not to insult the media.

That’s what you’d think.

Then Sam Mitchell said this after the Minnesota Timberwolves lost a game where they had a double-digit lead on the road against the Dallas Mavericks who were without Dirk Nowitzki:

“I see it every night. You guys don’t see it, you guys are pedestrians. I don’t see what you see when you have that microphone in your hand and that camera, and you guys don’t see what we see. We see the little things…”

Basketball is not that complicated of a game. In the middle of January, in a game that doesn’t really matter, an NBA contest is actually probably less complicated than most high school games. Middle schoolers could analyze NBA games in the middle of the season, nonetheless people that are around the team on a virtually daily basis covering the team.

This isn’t a ‘I have a journalism degree, don’t insult my people’ rambling.’ This is a ‘you should know better and don’t really have the clout to be saying that kind of thing right now’ rambling.

First off, in the quote, Mitchell goes on to say that people are only looking at the boxscore and not seeing what the young players are doing and improving off of what they’ve been taught. Everyone is seeing improvement, heck, it’s the only thing that’s worth watching the Timberwolves for right now.

Second, if Mitchell is seeing these things, harness them. Improve upon them. The Timberwolves were better in their first 15 games of the season than they have in the last two months. That is exactly the opposite of what should be happening for a young team.

Don’t go after the media when you are in second-to-last place in the Western Conference. You need all the good press you can get. You are 1-9 in your last 10 games. Only two other teams in the NBA have that horrible of a mark in their last ten and one of them is the Phoenix Suns that you somehow found a way to defeat and then come crashing back to reality again.

This team is young and has gone through a whole lot, I understand that, but there is no reason this team shouldn’t at least be close to .500 and shoot an actual three-point shot every now and again.

The reality of the situation is that Sam Mitchell likely won’t be around next season and this will just be water under the bridge, but that’s the problem. Sam Mitchell had the opportunity to succeed and get himself another permanent head coaching gig in the NBA, but is failing. Don’t try to take the media down with you.

That’s pedestrian.

Young and Dangerous: Time To Pay Attention To The Timberwolves

Nine out of 16.

Nine out of 16 players on the Minnesota Timberwolves current roster were born in the 1990’s. That’ll only increase after the Wolves make the first overall pick in the NBA Draft in a month from now. It’s not that young pups immediately turns a team into a contending team, but it does mean if, and when, they click, there’s a lot of time to keep on clicking.

If you forget about some guy named Kevin Garnett, who?, and fairly disposable guards Gary Neal and Kevin Martin, the Wolves don’t have anyone on the roster born later than 1986. The Wolves are really young.

Young and dangerous.

Andrew Wiggins, the only unanimous selection to the All-Rookie first team, could burst into being a superstar. At the very least it looks like Wiggins is on his way to being an All-Star. That’s just the foot of the hill.

Zach Lavine, Shabazz Muhammed, and Gorgui Dieng all are showing that they are going to be more than capable to log NBA minutes that matter. Throw in a Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns and the Wolves suddenly have a strong young six when throwing in Ricky Rubio.

Maybe it’s the fact that the Wolves finally weren’t bitten in the lottery or maybe because the Minnesota Twins are winning and I’m all of a sudden optimistic about every other team in Minnesota, the Gophers football team now has the 23rd best recruiting class, by the way, but whatever it is, it’s time to pay attention to the Timberwolves once again.

Like Taylor Swift says, “we could be forever or it’s going to go down in flames.”

Either the Wolves will show great promise this next season or we will all sit and watch the car vs. train wreck of Kevin Garnett being stuck on and absolutely horrible team. Either way it’s going to be a lot of fun.

It’s about time for the men’s basketball team in Target Center to take a nod from the women and start winning. It’s time we all paid attention to both squads.

Hey, Kevin Garnett, Are You Ever Going To Play?

Maybe I was naïve, but I thought the move bringing Kevin Garnett back to the Minnesota Timberwolves was, at a minimum, a decent move. A veteran defensive presence never really hurt anything, plus if it gets the young studs playing all the better.

The funny thing is that he Garnett been much of a presence… literally. The Timberwolves have played a total of nine games since he started playing with the Wolves and he has only played in a total of five games. Five.

The four games Garnett has missed have just by chance happened to be road contests, a contest in which the Timberwolves get no percentage of the gate. It’s real fishy.

I understand that Garnett isn’t a young man anymore and won’t play in every game, but he does actually need to play for this move to look legitimate. The Wolves have just played three straight road games, none in a back-to-back, and Garnett hasn’t played in any games.

He needs to get on the floor.

Garnett and the team can say he’ll do more teaching in practice, but that is also a double-edged sword. Garnett frankly doesn’t deserve practice minutes if he isn’t going to play in half of the games on the team’s schedule.

When this move came about, I was all for it. I realized that Garnett was not going to turn around the Wolves, but I was excited to see what he could do with the bushels of young talent on the roster. I can’t see that if he never plays.

The not playing epidemic is even worse when taking in the fact that the team still wants to give Garnett a contract extension. An NBA roster can only hold 15 players, each spot is valuable and each spot should be able to play for yoi every single game, apparently Garnett can no longer do that.

Garnett gave his heart and soul to basketball and this team years ago, but there’s not a whole lot of heart in anything going on with his playing after being acquired at the trade deadline.

It’s looking like the Timberwolves traded away Thad Young for a week’s worth of attention and two sellouts of Target Center. That’s not the only thing that sold out in this situation.

Kevin Garnett Can Come Back, But Not Too Much Back

Somewhere in rural Renville County there is a door that just regained relevance. The reality the door shows hasn’t been a reality since July 31, 2007. 2,760 days that door has sat there. 66,240 hours it has dreamed about a reunion. 3,974,400 and change minutes later, that door has seen its wish come true.

The door is not covered in supermodels. I didn’t have a huge thing for supermodels when I was eight.

It’s not cartoons, TV shows, movies or musicians, but it was a Big Ticket.

My door is covered with Kevin Garnett posters and pennants and articles from SI for Kids. I kind of liked the guy. He was the best basketball player on my favorite team that always somehow made the playoffs and somehow (almost) always got knocked out in the first round.

8-year-old Collin freaked out today. Kevin Garnett returning to the Wolves is like a glorious return to childhood. My childhood could be seen in a 22-minute episode of Rocket Power if they could put Kevin Garnett in it.

Young Collin was enough behind the return of Kevin Garnett to make college student Collin think it was a good idea. As a whole from the basketball perspective, it’s stupid. Completely stupid. Thad Young is younger and KG is old. Simple as that.

But I could still overlook it. A couple month KG retirement party would be fun and I could understand the ticket-buying part that the Timberwolves want from it. Then it was reported that the Wolves want to sign Garnett to a two-year extension.

Now it’s just crazy stupid. There’s nostalgia and then there’s stupidity.

Garnett’s productivity has fallen greatly. He is nowhere near the double-double machine he was with the Wolves once upon a time. He now averages six points and six rebounds a game.

Sign me up for the retirement party. I’m cool with that, I can handle seeing the KG I’m not used to for a couple months. Don’t make me see it for two years. That would feel like 2,760 days.