In the third quarter of Wednesday night's Lakers-Timberwolves game, the whistle shrilled and Jimmy Butler went over to the sideline. His right hand was bleeding and NBA rules prohibit a player from participating if there's visible blood. Despite getting the gash looked at and presumably dealt with, it appeared to be bothering him even after play resumed. Instead of asking out, he put the offending right hand in his shorts and kept it there despite being tasked with stopping a driving Brandon Ingram:
It wasn't the only possession where Butler played with one hand in his drawers.
The Wolves fell to the Lakers, 114-110, and Butler's right hand appeared to be all right because he connected on a four-point play to tie the game in the fourth. Butler finished with 24 points on the night on 9-of-18 from the field, including 5-of-8 from deep, but his one-armed man routine at the end of the third continues a pattern of mystical maneuvers—like sitting out to rest his body—that are hard not to consign with his desire to get out of town.
Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden may be asking a lot for to acquire their mercurial wing, and they may prefer he stays, but in his 320 minutes on the court so far this season, the Timberwolves sport a worse net rating (- 8.1) than in the 256 minutes when he's been off (- 4.5). It was that same on/off statistic that told the story of Jimmy's importance to the team last season. And that's neglecting the chemistry issues his presence means for Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.