MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 and Jimmy Butler #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves high five during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on December 18, 2017 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

What if the Timberwolves Start the Season Hot…

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – DECEMBER 18: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 and Jimmy Butler #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves high five during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on December 18, 2017 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)


If you open up the local papers and start reading about the Timberwolves, there are a couple of things that are clear.

– Local reporters are bitter that Butler’s leaks go through national outlets and that Thibs doesn’t talk to them at all.
– NOBODY expects Jimmy Butler to be here after the trade deadline.

Both of these stances are understandable.

The first point is for another day. I want to focus on the second bullet point.

Jimmy Butler has made it clear that he wants out of Minnesota. I get that. Things at Mayo Clinic Square and Target Center are strained. Strained may not even be a strong enough word. But let’s remember why we are at this point. Jimmy doesn’t see the fire in Towns and Wiggins, that he believes is needed to eventually compete for an NBA Championship. There’s more to it than that but that’s the crux of what’s going on.

Well, there’s a script to this story that drives this franchise into a flaming pile of shit that sits in a bag on Glen Taylor’s doorstep as he tries to stomp it out with his bare foot.

via GIPHY

That script is easy to write:

The team starts off slow. Jimmy Butler starts throwing tirades in the locker room and on the practice floor. Maybe we even see some drop-down, drag-out fists thrown on the sideline in a timeout huddle. ESPN probably already has cameras floating around for the next 30 for 30.

But there’s another possible script that is sitting in Tom Thibodeau’s desk right now. It’s locked in a secret drawer that only he can open. He needs to touch a specific corner of his office with is index finger and that’s the only thing that triggers it to open. Like the Touch ID iPhone your mom owns, where she can’t remember the number code and has no idea how to add more fingers in the settings app.

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Nobody has seen this script and thus nobody is talking about it… I don’t know exactly how it is written but it answers some questions I have roaming around my undersized brain.

– What happens if the Wolves start out hot?
– If they start of the season by winning a lot of games?
– What if Towns and Wiggins are driven by Butler’s antics over the last month?
– What if Towns and Wiggins bring intensity we haven’t seen consistently throughout their career and their defense looks better because of it…?
– If after more time in Thibs’ offense with a better supporting cast the team is more efficient…?
– What if Jimmy Butler and KAT are smiling and high-fiving throughout the victories?
– If Jimmy is praising Towns and Wiggins postgame for their effort and buy-in instead of berating them…?

Then what? Sure it’s difficult to imagine, given the current state of the team, but is it impossible to see this dream come to fruition? The Timberwolves might have the most talented home roster to ever grace the Target Center floor. It’s a roster that has much better depth than last year’s team that finished with 47 wins even without Jimmy for a quarter of those games.

Would Jimmy let the thought of sticking around actually float around his brain?

In Butler’s interview with Rachel Nichols, nobody really talked about it, but Jimmy left a small avenue that leads to him staying. Here’s the whole interview:

At the 2:10 mark, Nichols asks the question outright: “Is it fixable?”

Here is Butler’s answer: “It could be… It could be… but do I thinks so? No.”

Well clearly we know he doesn’t believe it’s fixable right now. He’s made that pretty clear. But, what happens if things get better? Does “it could be” turn into “it is” if the team starts winning?

The other side of this is KAT and Wiggins. Do they want Jimmy there, even if they do start winning? We really don’t know the answer to that. All we have are reports that KAT may have been holding out on signing his extension until Butler was gone or at least on his way out… Could that relationship rekindle? Butler says it’s not personal for him. Is it for KAT? Is it for Wiggins?

Look, I’m the same guy that told Jimmy “Fuck You” last week. But, if you read that piece, you saw a Timberwolves fan that’s just sick of losing. A guy that knows we are right back to the beginning if Jimmy does go. So, if there is a chance he stays and the Wolves are relevant for the next 5-6 years because of it, I’m more than willing to dream that dream.

I guess we’ll find out a lot tonight when the Wolves open their season in San Antonio. I’ve been excited for Wolves basketball before but I am counting down the minutes to this game right now. Take whichever side you want. You have to admit, the whole thing is quite intriguing.

And, if we are staring at a decade of mediocre to bad basketball… we’d might as well cherish the intrigue that the team has right now.

If you want hear from someone who sides with Jimmy Butler, listen to Brandon on our last podcast episode:

Eric Strack
Minnesota Sports Fan @RealMNSportsFan

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