MINNEAPOLIS - Whatever Jimmy Butler is, he's not subtle.
Multiple reports say the disgruntled Timberwolves guard will sit out tonight's tilt against Utah, the first step in an escalating plan to force his way out of Minnesota.
The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski Tweeted Wednesday that a league source told him Butler's decision not to play is "the next step in a 6-week long process aimed at getting the All-Star out of Minnesota." That source also told the beat writer that tonight's sit-out could lead to an extended absence.
For his part, Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters that Butler won't be playing due to "general soreness." This, despite the fact he had yesterday off to recover from Tuesday's game against the Lakers, and has another one off tomorrow.
The Butler saga has been a major distraction for the Wolves, despite their claims to the contrary. The club is currently 3-4, three-and-a-half games behind the division-leading Golden State Warriors. Multiple reports say the Houston Rockets offered Minnesota four 1st-round draft picks for Butler, but insiders believe the Wolves are demanding that guard Eric Gordon be included in any deal.
Butler demanded to be traded by Minnesota in September and skipped out on most of training camp ini an effort to force the team's hand. When the Timberwolves didn't trade him Butler returned before the start of the season, and has averaged 20.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in five games.