SAN ANTONIO – Jimmy Butler said he didn’t feel any nerves before the Timberwolves’ season opener against San Antonio. He wasn’t thinking too much about how the Wolves would look considering he hasn’t practice much with them this preseason. In fact, he said he isn’t thinking about “a thing” right now.
“I have no worries in the world,” Butler said after shootaround Wednesday. “I’m fortunate to be able to play basketball every day with these incredible group of guys and seriously just going out and playing basketball.”
If you watched the Wolves after shootaround Wednesday you might think there was nothing abnormal about the start to the season. Teammates were joking around, Butler included, before boarding their bus back to their hotel. But the Wolves find themselves in an awkward position to start the year with Butler wanting out of town. But for Wednesday, they had a game to play.
Butler joked that he was going to foul new Spur DeMar DeRozan, his teammate on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, “really, really hard at least once, maybe twice,” and said he was looking forward to playing with the Wolves again.
“I just want to hoop and be out there with my soldiers, go to war, try to the best of my ability help us win,” Butler said.
To accomplish that, Butler said he won’t back down from confronting teammates if the need arose during a game. While he’s still a member of the Wolves, he said, that’s his job. Multiple Wolves said the team suffered from a lack of intensity in the preseason and Butler isn’t going to let that be an excuse Wednesday night.
“I think we’ll bring it,” Butler said. “If not you’ll see me yelling at people. That’s what I’m supposed to do. You’ll see me talking to some guys nicely, that’s what I’m supposed to do.”
Coach Tom Thibodeau said he’ll monitor how Butler is playing and feeling and wouldn’t set a limit on how many minutes Butler would play.