The Minnesota Timberwolves underachieved last season, squeaking into the playoffs with the West's No. 8 seed. Fans expected more from the Wolves, who added Jimmy Butler to an already promising one-two punch of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Given the squad's underwhelming 2017-18 campaign, some fans have speculated that Butler and/or Towns could play for another team soon. But at the Minnesota State Fair, coach and front office czar Tom Thibodeau—who also coached Butler in Chicago—expressed confidence the team would bring back both players.
"The winning will take care of [Butler leaving]," Thibs said, according to the Star Tribune.
Butler could opt out of his contract next summer, and rumors have indicated he and Kyrie Irving are interested in teaming up. Towns, meanwhile, is eligible for a max contract, but the Wolves haven't worked out an agreement with the emerging star yet. They have until the end of October to do so.
"We know how important Karl is to the future of the organization," Thibodeau said.
The coach added that he doesn't believe there's any truth to the rumors that locker-room problems will spell the team's dissension. "I've been around a long time; I don’t buy into any of that stuff," Thibodeau said. "You have to distinguish what's real and what's not real. You never heard any of that come from Jimmy's mouth. It's always a source close to Jimmy. If Jimmy has something to say to someone, he usually says it directly."
Minnesota finished 47-35 last season and lost to Houston in five games in the first round of the playoffs.