If Jimmy Butler Told the Truth to VICE, He Will Be a Timberwolf for LIFE

Michael Pina of VICE Sports released the longest sports article of all time yesterday. It was on new Minnesota Timberwolves SF, Jimmy Butler. If you were able to stay with it for the 20 minutes it took to read, then you stumbled upon some gold at the end.

The article was VERY well done and its length wasn’t a problem. It was full of great stuff. Many of us likely learned a lot about Butler, from it. The article talks a lot about Butler’s early recruitment out of high school, or lack-there-of..

He wasn’t recruited. He ended up at a Junior College first, before he was finally picked up from Marquette, by Buzz Williams. You can read more about that in the piece.

His work ethic is a huge part of why he has defied the odds. Here are some quotes from his trainer:

“He’s a serial killer’s dream. He does the same shit every fucking day.”

“The man, simply, is addicted to working”

This is a quote directly from Butler and it intrigues me a lot. He knows that his drive and competitiveness is a little crazy but he still struggles with why other players/people don’t want to achieve greatness the way he does:

“I think it’s wrong for me to think that people want what I want because in reality they don’t. Some people are OK with getting drafted. Some people are OK with playing two years in the league, four years in the league, six years in the league. Some people are OK with just scoring a basket in an NBA game. I’m not OK with any of that. I’m not satisfied until I win a championship,” he says. “I want everybody to work the way that I work and it’s wrong for me to think like that because people don’t do it! But in my mind I’m just like why? Why don’t you want to chase greatness the way that I do?”

Anyway, there is all sorts of great shit in this article. Set aside the time and go read it. I wanted to give you an idea of what was in the piece but I’m not writing a review (If I were, it would get a solid A-).

If you didn’t make it to the end of the article, and I am not sure many did since some would have had to take off work to do it, then you missed the best part.

Butler is made out to be this really great guy, by both this article,and just about every other source out there. So, I am going to take Jimmy at his word. And if you do that, the last line in this article tells us that Jimmy will be in Minnesota for as long as we (front office, team, and fans) want and appreciate him:

“I’ll tell you one thing,” he says. “I’m gonna go or I’m gonna be or I’m gonna stay wherever I’m wanted, man. Because that’s all anybody ever wants,” he says. “To be appreciated.”

Well, shit. Problems solved. We can see the future. We can all breathe easy now and stop asking whether or not Jimmy will leave after 2 seasons. If he wants to be appreciated, then he has found the place. If you are a STAR in Minnesota, and you love the state, you will be “One of Us” forever. We will pull you in until you suffocate in our parkas and bubble vests. We will protect you from the cold winters here Jimmy. We will stuff Sweet Martha’s Cookies down your throat and love you forever.

Seriously though, lets look at it logically.

The Timberwolves, minus a full debacle and implosion this season, will obviously want Butler back. Thibs isn’t going anywhere and has a man-love-crush-whatever on him, Wiggins is about to sign an extension to stay for 6 years, KAT will sign that same extension next summer, and Butler can make A LOT more money in Minnesota than he can anywhere else since his “Bird Rights” traveled with him in the trade, according to CBAFAQ.com.

Butler’s Bird Rights are explained a little easier here at Business Insider but I will give it my best shot.

Butler would have gotten the most money in Chicago where he had the chance to make a maximum 35% of the cap (cap is set at $99.1M this season). In Minnesota, and elsewhere, he can only make 30% of the cap. The Chicago ship has already sailed so let’s look at what advantages the Wolves retained in the trade.

Because Minnesota was the team Butler was traded to, they DO RETAIN most of his other “Bird Right” incentives. These are incentives the incumbent team can offer a player to stay, that other teams can’t, if he were to leave in free agency. They are meant to help small market teams retain their drafted superstars. These incentives include (Bottom of Question 25):

  • Incumbent team can offer new 5-Year contract vs. 4-year contract from other teams. That’s about $40M more guaranteed. (See next bullet)
  • 8% maximum raise after the first year of the deal vs. a 5% with other teams. That’s approximately $2.4M YOY raise vs. $1.5M YOY (Extra $4.5M in YOY raises)

With the extra year on the deal + YOY raises, Butler can make an additional ~$45 Million by signing a max-extension with the Wolves. NBA money is essentially guaranteed upon signature. I know most of the extra money is in the extra year but that guaranteed money is hard to turn down, nonetheless.

Glen Taylor has opened his pocket books and wants a championship. He will give Butler all the money the CBA will allow, AND pay the luxury tax, as long as Butler sits with him to chat about it face-to-face first… All joking aside though, Butler seems like a guy who would appreciate that type of relationship.

Glen has proven, with the Thibs hire, Wiggins extension, and recent comments, that he wants to win a title above all else. If Butler were to leave, those title hopes are over.

As fans, we all know the Minnesota-Love Butler will receive, if he really embraces it here, and leads the Wolves back to the Conference Finals. He can ask other MN legends that have fallen in love with Minnesota after the state fell in love with them: Kevin Garnett, Randy Moss, Cris Carter, Fran Tarkenton, Jack Morris, Kent Hrbek, Torii Hunter, …. etc. He could probably even ask KAT, who has felt some of that love already.

So, get ready for a long run of GREAT NBA basketball in this state. If we take Jimmy at his word, barring a disaster this season, the Wolves will have their Big 3 in place for the next 5 years or more. With this Big 3, that should mean a lot of playoff games and a packed Target Center. I hope those renovations are ready for it.

We are.

Eric Strack
Minnesota Sports Fan @RealMNSportsFan



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