Minnesota Timberwolves: much too early returns on Jimmy Butler suggests he is staying

Jimmy Butler appears to be a fit with the Minnesota Timberwolves despite his trade request.

If one could judge from the minutes that Jimmy Butler has played in the first two games of the season, he will remain with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tallying up a total of 72 minutes where he has performed as arguably the best player on the Timberwolves is disproving his theory that he should be playing elsewhere. Yet, Butler still expects the Timberwolves to trade him.

Issuing a trade demand would do that.

Butler wants out, but he has giving maximum and has played more minutes than any Timberwolves’ starter so far. The trend will continue as long as Butler is wearing a Timberwolves’ jersey or Tom Thibodeau remains his coach.

Coaching to win NBA games has been the philosophy of Thibodeau since he has embraced the sidelines with his now-trademark scowl. That means Thibodeau will play his disgruntled swingman regular minutes until a trade takes place if a trade takes place.

A win-now mode can help or hurt the Timberwolves as they seek out trade partners for Butler.

Butler gives the Timberwolves their best chance at winning, however, if and when he is traded, he might not have enough left in the tank for his new team. The fear that Butler has given his best basketball to the Timberwolves will undoubtedly play a role in what rival teams are willing to give back in return for Butler. All of the early returns have led to the determination that the Timberwolves are not going to give him away.

A trade was thought to be in place with the Miami Heat, however, it fell apart after the Timberwolves wanted more compensation for the four-time NBA all-star. If Butler continues to average somewhere in the ballpark of 23 points and six rebounds a game, the Timberwolves will be justified in demanding much in return. Butler being on the last year of his deal is a fact that could be negated.

It will all be for naught if the Timberwolves can reel off several wins between now and mid-December.

Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

More NBA players will be available for trades on December 15. The list includes players who were acquired by new teams via free agency or in trades during the first week July.

The Timberwolves travel to play the Phoenix Suns on December 15. It will be their 27th game of the season. If the Timberwolves have a win total in the range of 16-20 wins when that day comes, fans may decide to turn on the Timberwolves.

In the home opener, Timberwolves fans quickly changed their minds about Butler going from boos to MVP chants as the game went on. If this situation continues it could throw the season down in the trash.

What to do with Jimmy Butler is the question which will define the Minnesota Timberwolves’ season. Thus far, he has played well in the 72 out of 96 minutes he has been on the floor. Keep in mind that Butler is still playing his way into NBA shape.

Next: There are several trade scenarios for Jimmy Butler

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The more minutes that Butler plays, combined with the victories being piled up leads to one conclusion. The Timberwolves lose the incentive to trade Butler. Especially if the Timberwolves begin to play as if they like each other.

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