Timberwolves' Jimmy Butler denies report he's sitting out against Jazz to expedite trade

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Jimmy Butler (Getty Images)

Jimmy Butler is denying a report that he is sitting out against the Jazz on Wednesday to take another step toward working his way out of Minnesota. 

The disgruntled Timberwolves star told ESPN he plans to sit out Wednesday’s game because his body is hurting after he missed nearly all of training camp and he doesn’t want any soreness to escalate into injury as he seeks a resolution to his situation with Minnesota. 

The report adds: “He strongly pushed back on any idea he is sitting out tonight as a protest.” He confirmed he plans to fly with the team to play against the Warriors and he plans to be in the arena for tonight’s game.

Stadium and The Athletic reported earlier Wednesday the Timberwolves termed Butler’s absence for Wednesday’s game as “general soreness and precautionary rest,” though Butler told coach Tom Thibodeau of his decision to sit. Butler made his final decision Wednesday morning after contemplating it Tuesday.

Butler requested a trade before the season and the Timberwolves reportedly were on the verge of completing a deal with the Heat before changes proposed by Minnesota led to a breakdown in talks earlier this month, according to The New York Times. There also were reports the Timberwolves’ asking price was too high and Miami wouldn’t budge.

The Rockets have emerged as the latest team to offer the Timberwolves a deal for Butler, though it was reported Friday that Minnesota is “showing no inclination to move” on Houston’s offer of two injured players and four first-rounders. 

The 29-year-old forward has two years remaining on the five-year, $92 million deal he signed with the Bulls in 2015. He was traded to the Timberwolves before last season. However, Butler can opt out after this season.

Butler averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists last season for Minnesota, which made the playoffs for the first time since 2004. The four-time All-Star is averaging 22.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in six games this season.