We could be instore for a massive Minnesota Timberwolves roster overhaul before the start of next season, both on the court and off it.
According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, Wolves head coach Tom Thibodeau has no interest in trading away All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler and starting a rebuild in Minnesota, and would rather quit his position as head coach and president than move the disgruntled Butler.
"No one expects Tom to coach a 25-win or even 35-win team," a front-office executive said. "Even if he has to agree to dissolve the contract, they'd do that before they go and trade Butler for draft picks."
Because Thibodeau is also the president of basketball operations in Minnesota as well as the head coach, no roster moves can be made without his approval, meaning if Tom doesn't want Butler gone, he's not going anywhere.
The only plausible solutions to this dilemma are either 1. Tom Thibodeau quits, opening the path for Butler to be traded for young assets, 2. Jimmy Butler is traded for another star, just how San Antonio traded Kawhi Leonard for DeMar DeRozan earlier this summer, or 3. Thibodeau attempts to patch up the relationship between Butler and the rest of the team, which is the least likely scenario.
"A lot of this has to do with the work ethic of those young guys, and sometimes young guys just click and they get it out of the blue," one league general manager said. "For Thibs, that would be the way he prefers to play this.
"He has a great relationship with Jimmy, and if he can just get him to give the team a chance, he’s got a shot at defusing this whole thing by Christmas."
It would take a miracle for Butler to be content with playing in Minnesota again after the social media backlash he faced from his own teammates on Thursday, with the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns both expressing their pleasure in Jimmy wanting out.
Despite the fact that both Thibodeau and Butler played integral parts in seeing the Wolves make the playoffs for the first time since 2004 last season, it may be better for the franchise's long-term health that either one or both of them are out the door by opening night.