Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler formally requested a trade Wednesday — and that set off a series of events that eventually involved former NBA player Stephen Jackson, Minnesota small forward Andrew Wiggins and Andrew’s brother Nick Wiggins.
Butler and Andrew Wiggins have been teammates for only one season, as Minnesota head coach/president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau traded Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the draft rights to Lauri Markkanen to the Chicago Bulls to acquire Butler. Thibodeau, who coached Butler in Chicago from 2011 until 2015, was tasked with working with former top overall picks Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns to end a postseason drought that reached a league-long 13 seasons.
And it worked! Even though Butler was available for only 59 games, the Timberwolves clinched a playoff spot on the last night of the regular season, and they avoided a sweep before the Houston Rockets eliminated them in the quarterfinals.
But those times are over, apparently. Butler wants out. And he isn’t the only one, as Nick Wiggins (briefly with the Timberwolves in 2015 training camp) tweeted “Hallelujah” before deleting.
Hallelujah is also what Butler put on his Instagram stories, while saying, “Keep that same energy.”
Later, former NBA champion and ESPN analyst Stephen Jackson commented on Nick Wiggins’ tweet on Instagram by imagining the conversation he would have had as Andrew Wiggins with brother Nick. Jackson suggested that Nick Wiggins shouldn’t have sent the tweet since Butler “plays with a lot of heart” and Andrew Wiggins “plays with no heart,” with Jackson ending by saying, “Keep that same energy.”
Andrew Wiggins then went on his Instagram stories in a presumed response to Jackson, saying, “SJ/Old dudes stay hating like he was anything special … I keep that same energy everywhere I go!” Nick Wiggins addressed Jackson’s Instagram more directly by suggesting that Jackson did not have many highlights and just “hit catch and shoot 3s.”
Jackson commented back to Nick Wiggins on Instagram by reminding Wiggins of his championship and that his retirement is going great. (“I’m on TV more than your brother.”) Then Jackson put out another video for Andrew Wiggins, saying, “Keep that same energy … I’ll catch you in traffic.”
Timberwolves media day is set for Monday at Target Center. We’ll see if Butler is wearing a different jersey by then — and if Minnesota’s drama spirals further out of control.