NBA notebook: Wolves without Butler for finale; Garnett chimes in

NBA notebook: Wolves without Butler for finale; Garnett chimes in
By Reuters

13/10/2018 at 00:56Updated 13/10/2018 at 00:58

Disgruntled Minnesota star Jimmy Butler was not with the team as the Timberwolves prepared for their final preseason game Friday night in Milwaukee.

The Timberwolves, who canceled practice Thursday after Butler caused a stir in
a Wednesday scrimmage, will face the Milwaukee Bucks while Butler stays in
Minneapolis to "work on his conditioning," coach Tom Thibodeau said, per ESPN.

The Timberwolves open the regular season against the San Antonio Spurs on
Wednesday. Butler, who demanded a trade this offseason and has called out
young stars Towns and Wiggins on a number of occasions, told teammates his
issues are with team management and not with players during what he reportedly
called a players-only meeting on Thursday.

According to ESPN, Butler on Wednesday verbally challenged teammates, coaches
and front office executives. Per the report, an emotional Butler targeted
president of basketball operations and coach Thibodeau, teammates Karl-Anthony
Towns and Andrew Wiggins and general manager Scott Layden, at whom he screamed
at one point, "You (expletive) need me. You can't win without me."

--Longtime Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett said the team and forward Jimmy
Butler are both "a little delusional" in their positions regarding Butler's
trade demand.

In an interview with The Athletic, Garnett described the situation in
Minnesota as "a storm up there," adding, "I think Jimmy thinks his
worth is a little more than what it is. He's a very good player. I don't see
him on the [Kevin Durant] and LeBron level. But if they are A-plus,
he's definitely A, A-minus.

"I don't know if he had the power to come out and force a trade like this. He
can be disruptive, but I don't know if he actually had the clout to come out
and do that. I don't know if Jimmy has enough juice to be that."

--Dirk Nowitzki will be sidelined for the start of his 21st season as he
continues to recover from offseason surgery on his left ankle.

"It's going to be multiple weeks, I can tell you that," said coach Rick
Carlisle, per ESPN. "But there's no real soft or hard date at this point. He
is doing better but has not done any significant court work. His rehab work is
ongoing, and we can update you in another 10 days or something like that."

Nowitzki's ankle has actually recovered from the surgery, but tendons in the
foot are causing pain. The Mavericks open the season on Wednesday against the
Phoenix Suns.

--San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White will miss six to eight weeks with a
torn ligament in his left heel, head coach Gregg Popovich announced.

It's the third significant injury to the Spurs' backcourt in less than a week.
Starting point guard Dejounte Murray was lost for the season to a torn
anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Sunday, and rookie Lonnie
Walker IV will miss six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a
torn meniscus in his right knee on Monday.

The Spurs also have an ailing forward as Rudy Gay (heel) missed the preseason
finale against the Orlando Magic. The San Antonio Express News reported that
holding out Gay was precautionary and he will be re-evaluated after the club
returns to San Antonio.

--Atlanta Hawks starting forward John Collins will miss the start of the
season due to an injury to his left ankle.

The club said Collins underwent a nonsurgical procedure on Monday after an MRI
exam the previous week revealed mild inflammation and soreness. The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution reported that Collins received an injection.

The Hawks said Collins will be re-evaluated on Oct. 22. Atlanta opens the
season Wednesday when it visits the New York Knicks.

--Field Level Media