By Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley, Special to AFRO
Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Jimmy Butler is fed up and ready to go. The four-time NBA all-star has made his demands to be traded public since the start of the offseason. After failing to move the disgruntled Butler, he reportedly set off a series of curse bombs directed towards Minnesota’s upper brass during a practice last week. The NBA season starts in two days. Players get vilified quickly in pro sports and Butler’s climbing up the “angry black man” rankings that professional sports knowingly promotes. Is Butler right or wrong in his approach? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate.
Riley: Butler has a problem with the work ethic of his teammates and the direction the franchise is going in and he has a right to express his opinion. Teams overpay for talent in the NBA annually and considering Butler’s infamous past, I can sympathize with his frustration. Everybody’s worked at a job where lesser-dedicated coworkers get promoted to bigger roles over them. It sucks and that’s what Butler is going through. He’s surrounded by a bunch of prima donnas who haven’t put in the same work that he’s had to over the years and they’re making $100 million more than him. Of course he’s mad.
Green: That’s infantile. Throwing a fit over money is so 20 years ago. Everybody’s making generational wealth in the NBA nowadays no matter how good or bad you are. Now, if you’re telling me that Butler is upset that his teammates aren’t working hard enough to win a title then I can understand his frustration but it just sounds like Butler is ready to go and hates being in Minnesota. If those are the hard facts then he’s going about things all the way wrong. He’ll get himself traded but ups the pressure on his own self for no reason. It’s not about his teammates or winning a title, it’s about getting out of Minnesota.
Riley: Being in Minnesota comes with underachieving teammates, drill sergeant coaches and playing third fiddle when you’re really the best player on the team. It’s more to getting out of Minnesota than just trying to avoid the cold weather. The Timberwolves have been traditionally one of the worst-run franchises since they came into the NBA and Butler’s one year sentence there was enough. He should be encouraged to talk trash to coaches, presidents and general managers alike if the team wants to get better. Upper management gets off the hook way too easy in most franchises and it’s refreshing to me personally when players hold the right people accountable.
Green: There are more clever ways to execute a move than destroying your own image. Making out loud trade demands and disrespecting your employer kill your brand and while Butler might be comfortable with that, outlawing your own self typically gets you traded to a crappy franchise or hesitation on competing teams to sign you. You get blackballed in sports easily and Butler’s setting himself up to fall into that.