‘If you do that again, I’m beatin’ you up’: Jimmy Butler’s ex-teammate shares wild Timberwolves story

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NBA veteran Taj Gibson shared some interesting insight into Jimmy Butler’s days with the Minnesota Timberwolves and how he treated his teammates.

Gibson, who played with Butler on both the Chicago Bulls and the Timberwolves, shared that the current Miami Heat star was pretty tough on his teammates in certain situations.

“They was tryna give Jimmy some bread, but it wasn’t enough money,” Gibson said of the Timberwolves. “It wasn’t that kind of money. Jimmy was basically like, ‘Yo, show me I’m the alpha. Show me I’m the guy.’

“And respectfully, he was. He was the guy that was taking all the big shots, settin’ guys up. But not only that, he was chastisin’ dudes, too. ‘Yo, if you do that again, I’m beatin’ you up.’ I’m like, ‘That’s what you on?’”

Butler ended up playing less than two seasons with the Timberwolves, as he was traded during the 2018-19 season to the Philadelphia 76ers. He promptly helped the Sixers make the second round of the playoffs before they lost to the Toronto Raptors on Kawhi Leonard’s iconic game-winning shot in Game 7.

Since then, Butler has been with the Heat, leading Miami to two NBA Finals appearances in five seasons.

During his time in Minnesota, there were a lot of issues, including a practice where Butler went at members of the team before doing an interview to voice his displeasure with the team.

“I think that’s the part everybody doesn’t see,” Butler said. “I’m not going to say no names. I’m going to be honest: If your No. 1 priority isn’t winning, people can tell. That’s the battle. Now there is a problem between people. That’s where the disconnect is.”

It was also reported back in 2020 that Butler didn’t appreciate an apparent lack of professionalism by the Timberwolves, which certainly could have factored into his eventual departure from the franchise.

Butler’s tactics to motivate and challenge his teammates may not have been perfect, but as Gibson mentioned, he was playing the alpha role for Minnesota during his time there, leading the Timberwolves to the playoffs in the 2017-18 season.

It’s been evident in Miami that Butler can be the best player on a championship-caliber team, as he’s led Miami to the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the last five seasons. Hopefully, Butler can get the Heat back into that mix next season after an injury sidelined him for the playoffs this season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.