Some Timberwolves players were not expecting Jimmy Butler to request a trade.
The 29-year-old forward asked to be moved by Minnesota earlier this month. Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson, who also played with Butler in Chicago, told ESPN he was surprised when he heard the news.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to look at it from a player’s standpoint and a business standpoint,” Gibson said Friday. “He’s trying to do what he’s got to do but everybody’s calling him. It’s more of a (situation where) I’ve got to go see him kind of thing. But I worked out with him all summer … It was like a right hook, I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t know. I thought — it looked like from everything things were going good.
“One thing about everybody who’s here, from the coaching staff, players, everybody’s familiar with each other, we’ve been through a lot together, so we’ve just got to keep trying.”
Minnesota point guard Derrick Rose was also teammates with Butler on the Bulls from 2011-16. He said he wishes Butler “nothing but the best.”
“I didn’t know what the situation is,” Rose said. “I just didn’t know it was that bad. Even being here, I didn’t know it was that bad.
“You never know what someone’s going through. I’ve been in the same position where you’re just misunderstood so you never know what someone’s going through.”
Butler, a four-time All-Star, was selected by the Bulls with the 30th pick in the 2011 draft. He spent the first six seasons of his career in Chicago before he was dealt to the Timberwolves in June 2017.
Butler averaged 22.2 points on a Minnesota team that went 47-35 last season and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04.