Jimmy Butler’s antagonism toward the Minnesota Timberwolves was one of the most surreal storylines of the NBA offseason, and the team’s fans predictably took notice with a healthy dose of jeers.
However, they also took notice of Butler dropping 33 points, which naturally led to MVP chants for a player that had booed only an hour earlier.
Minnesota fans got their first chance to let Butler hear their displeasure on Friday during the Timberwolvers’ home opener at the Target Center against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They did not disappoint.
Mixed reaction by @Timberwolves fans during Jimmy Butler's intro
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) October 20, 2018
Butler has made every attempt to bail from the Timberwolves short of holding out from regular season games, skipping the NBA preseason and cursing out just about everyone within reach in the organisation.
Now, with trade talks reportedly falling through with the Miami Heat, the Timberwolves’ primary trade discussion partner, it’s looking like Butler might be staying in the Twin Cities longer than anyone was expecting.
As much as the fans verbally assailed Butler, they also seemed very aware that it takes two to tango in a trade request stand-off.
The crowd reserved a healthy serving of boos for Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau, who has been roundly criticised for his handling of the team’s Butler situation.
The coach reportedly raised the asking price for Butler after the forward’s infamous “you f***ing need me” practice, all but assuring he would stay in Minnesota for the time being.
The boos for the team didn’t even end once pregame introductions were over, with fans making the effort to boo Butler every time he touched the ball in the opening minutes of the game.
However, that would soon change.
Winning leads to forgiveness for Butler
Apparently, winning heals all wounds.
Unlike a season opener in which the Timberwolves found themselves down early against the Spurs, the team jumped on the Cavaliers early and stayed on top to win 131-123.
As much as Butler was booed before the game, he was getting cheered by a crowd that seemed OK with 33-point effort on 10-of-12 shooting.
Jimmy Butler (booed in intro) is getting MVP chants at the line.
— FearTheSword (@FearTheSword) October 20, 2018