Jimmy Butler not with Timberwolves for final preseason game Friday in Milwaukee

Jimmy Butler didn’t travel Friday with the Timberwolves to Milwaukee for their final game of the NBA preseason, coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after a morning shootaround.

The official reason given by Thibodeau is that Butler stayed in Minneapolis to “work on his conditioning,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Friday’s development comes after what the Star Tribune described as “two drama-filled days that included Jimmy Butler’s confrontational return to Timberwolves practice Wednesday and more soap opera fodder Thursday.”

Butler, who has asked to be traded multiple times this offseason, this week talked at length about his contentious relationship with Thibodeau, general manager Scott Layden and some teammates.

In practice Wednesday, Butler reportedly directed his frustration at Layden, delivering an expletive-laced message: “You f—ing need me! You can’t win without me!”

The Timberwolves canceled practice Thursday, although Butler told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols he met with his teammates. He also said said the source of his discontent is what he perceives as the team’s lack of a commitment to winning.

“I’m not going to say no names. I’m going to be honest, if your No. 1 priority isn’t winning, people can tell,” he said. “That’s the battle. Now there is a problem between people. That’s where the disconnect is.”

He also has confronted Karl-Anthony Towns, who Butler has criticized, along with teammate Andrew Wiggins, for not working hard enough, according to the Star Tribune. His relationship with those two is one of the reasons Butler would like to play elsewhere, a point he reaffirmed in the ESPN interview when he said his relationship with the team likely could not be “fixed.”

Town, for his part, was thankful Friday morning that the topic would be different later in the day: “I’m just happy that we get to play basketball tonight in Milwaukee.”

Given the opportunity to clarify anything that Thibodeau thought was inaccurately reported during the tumultuous week, and Wednesday’s practice in particular, he declined to do so Friday.

Regarding Butler’s comments about Towns and Wiggins, he said: “To me, like they’re young guys improving, this is a team sport. It’s not an individual sport. If you look at every great player in this league, they don’t start off being great players, there’s a progression to it. That’s what everyone has to understand it’s all about the team. The team has got to come first.”

Asked if what Butler did Wednesday — during practice and later in the ESPN interview — was “team-first” behavior? Thibodeau answered: “The important thing is, we have to do what we think is best for our team and we always will do that. We’re always going to put the team first.”

The Timberwolves, 1-3 in the preseason ahead of another game Friday without Butler, opens the regular season Wednesday against the Spurs in San Antonio.