76ers star Jimmy Butler is preparing to return to Minnesota on Saturday for the first time since his blockbuster trade in November, but the forward isn’t worried about any negative reactions he might receive.
Instead, he’s expecting the worst.
“They’re going to boo me,” Butler told The New York Times. “I would boo me, too. I’m not going to lie to you. I would boo the heck out of myself. … I might actually join in on the boos.”
Timberwolves fans watched as Butler forced his way out of Minnesota by demanding to be moved before the start of the season. Minnesota eventually traded him to the 76ers in exchange for a package centered around Robert Covington and Dario Saric.
Despite how Timberwolves fans may view Butler, the four-time All-Star said he isn’t too concerned about his image.
“It’s okay. It’s fine. I don’t need everybody to like me,” Butler said. “I know who I am. I can’t say that enough. I know what I’m about. I know where my heart is. People will say, ‘He’s this way or he’s that way,’ but nobody knows except for the people around me every day. Ask them and they’ll tell you differently.”
Butler faced the Timberwolves in January for the first time since his trade in Philadelphia, scoring 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting in the 149-107 victory. He has averaged 18.8 points while shooting 46.9 percent from the field in 51 games with the 76ers.
Entering Saturday’s game, the 76ers are third in the Eastern Conference with a 47-27 record, while the Timberwolves are sitting in 10th with a 33-41 mark.