Jimmy Butler gets candid on his trade request, turmoil with Timberwolves

It’s no secret Jimmy Butler is frustrated with the Timberwolves. He has been vocal about his status with the team as he requested a trade during the offseason, and now he is irritated by the team’s play amid a 4-9 start. 

After the Timberwolves’ 121-110 loss to the Kings on Friday, Butler opened up to The Athletic in a wide-ranging interview. Among the topics: his distaste for losing and some of his issues with the organization.

“I don’t like to lose, man,” Butler told The Athletic. “I think that’s where it starts for me. If we’re not winning games, then I don’t smile too often.

“I absolutely hate — hate to f—ing lose. And the way that we go about things sometimes isn’t the right way, myself included, and a lot of other people as well. I just think that, man, whenever you win, everything takes care of itself. But we’ve got to figure out a way to do that, man. No matter what, all I want to do is win. I don’t care what anybody says, any media outlet, anybody says as a person, the one thing they can’t say is that I don’t want to win.”

Butler then went into detail about what it has been like to play on a team in which he has made publicly clear he doesn’t want to be a part of the organization anymore, though he denied it has created any tension or has played a factor into the team’s poor start. 

“I don’t change the way that I play. I love the game of basketball, man,” Butler said. “I ride with these guys in this locker room. They know that. If I’ve got something to say to them, I will say it. You may not like the way that it comes across. That’s fine. But that’s who I am.

“I mean, all and all, I don’t think about (the trade request situation). I don’t worry about it. I do the same thing every day. This sh— does not change. I’m in the gym in the night. I’m in there in the morning. I’m not worried about basketball. Basketball is going to come around.”

Butler explained that despite reports of him being unhappy with Minnesota, he will still do anything for his teammates.

“I’m not a bad dude. I’m not a bad teammate. I’d do anything for my guys, man,” Butler said. “If Thibs [coach Tom Thibodeau] is coming at somebody, I’m the first guy to be, like, ‘Leave him alone.’ Whether it’s KAT [Karl-Anthony Towns], whether it’s Wiggs [Andrew Wiggins], whether it’s Tyus [Jones], whether it’s Taj [Gibson].”

Butler also responded to some of the criticism he’s facing, though he isn’t concerned about it as he believes most of what’s out there isn’t the truth. 

When asked whether any of the backlash of his situation has gotten to him, Butler said: “Hell no. For what? I know who I am. These guys know who I am. If you know me, then you know the truth. If you don’t, then you write something for people to read.”

He added, “If you didn’t talk to me to write something, you’re just making stuff up. You’re going by what you think, what you’re assuming. I leave it at that. Read it. Believe what you want. But at the end of the day, if you’ve got a real question then just come up and ask me and see who I am as a person.”

Butler, however, wasn’t as willing to answer questions about his minute restrictions — it was reported Friday he agreed with Minnesota on playing 32 minutes per game: 

The Athletic: You played 41 minutes tonight…

Butler: That sh— has to stop.

The Athletic: Why?

Butler: We’ve got f—king 14 other guys.

Butler explained: “I want all my guys to be successful, man. I want all these guys to play. Is that a convo [with Thibodeau] that I’ve got to have? Yeah, and then everybody wants to talk about how the motherf—er’s not healthy [he said of himself]. Well God damn, we’re playing 41, 43, 44 [minutes per game], it takes a toll on top of all the work that I do that don’t nobody even see. We’ll fix it. We’ll do something. We’ll talk.”

Butler has played in 10 of the team’s 13 games and leads the Timberwolves in scoring at 21.3 points per game. He also is averaging 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists.