Jimmy Butler demand led to 'negative environment,' Wolves owner says

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor appears ready to move on from the Jimmy Butler drama that overshadowed the start of the season, saying he had spent "too much of my time on things that were negative."

In a series of interviews this week, Taylor detailed his thinking throughout the process that ended with Monday's trade of Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Taylor told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the Timberwolves "wasted some time" trying to persuade Butler to stay in Minnesota. He added that he didn't foresee how tumultuous and short Butler's tenure in Minnesota would be.

"To me, I thought we were helpful to him, because he said he wanted to get out of Chicago, so I thought we were helpful," Taylor said. "We certainly gave Chicago some really good young players. [Butler] came here with expectations that he would help lead the team, not only with scoring, but with his experience that he would share with our young guys and we got behind that."

Butler joined the Timberwolves in a 2017 draft-day trade that sent Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen to the Bulls and brought Justin Patton to Minnesota. Butler, an All-Star the past four seasons, played 69 games for the Timberwolves.

Taylor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he felt Butler "had an agenda" that led to the situation spinning out of the Timberwolves' control and creating a "negative environment."

"It just appeared that they weren't working together as a team or as a unit the way that they should've. I can't exactly answer why," Taylor said. "The only thing that was different that we had was Jimmy's position of leaving the team."

The effect that the Butler saga appeared to be having on Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns pushed Taylor into action, he said.

The owner said he was happy that the Timberwolves received assets in Robert Covington and Dario Saric who can help the team win this season as opposed to just hoarding draft picks for the future.

"That's why when that possibility worked out that I thought that [this offer] was better than some of the other ones that might have included a [draft] pick or something like that," Taylor told the Pioneer Press. "Of course, we love picks, but I thought that we immediately probably better bring a group together, and these two guys seem to fit in."

Now Taylor's attention has turned to the Timberwolves' players and staff who remain. The owner addressed coach Tom Thibodeau's job status, telling the Star Tribune he will be evaluated going forward without listing specific goals for success.

"OK, you now have your team," Taylor said. "We made the trades. These are guys that you like, and let's see what we can do."

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