Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor admits his team struggled on the court amid Jimmy Butler’s trade request, though the players publicly said they wouldn’t let his situation affect their play.
Taylor said in an interview with the Star Tribune on Wednesday that Butler had his own agenda that hurt the Timberwolves’ performance on the court. The team was 4-9, including a five-game losing streak, when Minnesota sent the All-Star to Philadelphia.
Taylor said he wasn’t satisfied with the slow start, adding, “I think we saw Jimmy had an agenda and we had to work around that.”
“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 told the Tribune. “The only thing that was different that we had was Jimmy’s position of leaving the team. Maybe that was affecting guys more than they even knew themselves.”
Taylor explained what went into the franchise’s decision to trade Butler and indicated they wanted to wait and see how other teams were playing before making a deal.
“We have to play at least 10 games and then we would see which teams were meeting their goals, which teams weren’t and the teams that weren’t we thought we would have a better chance to negotiate,” Taylor said. “We were preparing ourselves to do this anyway. But certainly, I guess if we would’ve won all five games out there, it might have been different.
“They were positive to Jimmy and positive about playing and working hard,” he added. “Just watching their action on the floor and dealing with the toughness of a fourth quarter, I don’t think it was quite there. The only thing I can relate back is they probably were under pressure they didn’t realize as young people. … It’s a negative environment.”
Butler is expected to make his debut with the 76ers on Wednesday against the Magic with tip-off set for 7 p.m. ET.