Jimmy Butler is finally out of Minnesota, which is likely why Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor made the media rounds this week seeking to explain exactly what went so wrong. In interviews with the Star Tribune (which he owns) and the Pioneer Press, he spoke at length about how badly Butler's presence influenced the team, even if only subconsciously.
The Wolves owner discussed how well he thought his team handled themselves despite the fact "Jimmy had an agenda." Butler's presence is why Taylor thinks, despite denials to the contrary, the Wolves appeared listless on the court. Butler's trade demand just days before training camp began—Jimmy claimed to Rachel Nichols he told Tom Thibodeau of his desire to be traded a few days after the 2018 season concluded—affected the entire atmosphere around the squad.
"[The team was] positive to Jimmy and positive about playing and working hard," Taylor the Tribune. However, "just watching their action on the floor and dealing with the toughness of a fourth quarter, I don’t think it was quite there," he said. "The only thing I can relate back is they probably were under pressure they didn’t realize as young people...It’s a negative environment."
Taylor wanted Jimmy gone sooner rather than later after his trade demand made it to the media, and the fiery practice and back-and-forth in the media seems to have embroiled the 77-year-old billionaire in the very situation he had hoped to avoid. "It consumed too much of my time on things that were negative," Taylor told the Pioneer Press.
Minnesota's recent 0-for-5 swing on a road trip out west is ultimately what led the team to reach back out to teams about a trade, which is eventually what led to the Sixers. "Then I think because we had already set a goal to look at it, and we see that things weren’t getting better for us, we really went back to work and canvassed all the teams to see where they were at as far as a trade," Taylor said. Despite the fact GM Scott Layden worked out the particulars with Philadelphia's Elton Brand, Taylor did call Sixers owner Josh Harris to make sure everyone was on the same page.
"When you have a trade this important is, I check to make sure the other owner is in sync with the exact same trade that we’re talking about so there’s no misunderstanding," he said. He may have been alluding to issues swapping Jimmy with the Heat, who appeared on the verge of a deal involving Josh Richardson before it was allegedly nixed at the last moment.