The Minnesota Timberwolves fired Tom Thibodeau on Sunday after they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers by 22 points. Minnesota hired Thibodeau back in 2016 as their head coach and president.
One could say the way Thibs handled Jimmy Butler’s trade request is a reason he was fired. Thibodeau practically ignored Butler’s request to be traded and kept him on the roster for a while even though everyone in the organization knew he wanted out.
Speaking to Philly reporters on Monday, Jimmy Butler had nothing bad to say about his former coach and thanked Thibs for helping mold him into the player he is today.
Before I dive deep into Butler’s availability today, his quote on hearing about Thibs losing his job in Minnesota: pic.twitter.com/bYmBBLjvLJ
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) January 7, 2019
Jimmy Butler began his career with the Chicago Bulls back in 2011. With the help of Tom Thibodeau, the swingman turned into an All-Star and one of the best two-way players in the league. Thibodeau was fired by the Bulls in the summer of 2015, but he and Butler were reunited last season in Minnesota when Thibs traded for Butler.
The reunion was a successful one at first. Butler and Thibodeau guided the Timberwolves to the 2018 playoffs, the first time Minnesota made the postseason in 14 years. It all went downhill after that, though, as Butler requested a trade, put his coach in a tough spot, and went on a profanity laced rant during a practice before the season started.
Thibodeau wanted to keep Butler on the Timberwolves because he knew how talented of a player he was, but it just didn’t work out, as the team had no chemistry on the floor while Butler was playing.
Thibs eventually gave in and traded Butler to the Sixers on Nov. 12.