Mark Wahlberg starred in and was a producer of the movie “Broken City’’ that was released in 2013. That was the same year Wahlberg was filming a “Transformers’’ movie in Chicago, and met Jimmy Butler playing pickup basketball at the Bulls practice facility.
Wahlberg and Butler started a friendship that both the blue-collar juvenile delinquent from the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston and the abandoned kid from the dusty streets of Tomball, Texas have made public with great pride.
I’m not saying that Wahlberg was the adviser for the dramatic short featuring Butler that was played out on Wednesday at Mayo Clinic Square, but it was done well enough to be a Marky Mark Production.
Heck, ESPN could even use the tape of Rachel Nichols’ on-the-spot interview with Butler to weave into an E:60 on his feud with the Timberwolves. And we already have the title: “Broken Franchise.’’
The Timberwolves have confirmed the organization had no idea Nichols and ESPN were in town until they saw the network airing snippets of the interview as a set up for NBA shows and Sports Centers that would follow.
The fact Butler showed up for practice for the first time Wednesday, went bonkers on everybody, stormed out and was sitting with Nichols for a prearranged interview soon thereafter is not a conspiracy theory.
That’s one plus one being two — that’s a conspiracy, period.
Some people are throwing around a third part of the conspiracy and it’s all preposterous theory: That basketball boss and coach Tom Thibodeau was in on it, figuring Butler’s antics would lead to being fired by owner Glen Taylor, thus allowing Thibs to walk away with $24 million owed for three more seasons.
There’s nothing more important in Thibodeau’s life than coaching basketball, including money. If he left with a huge check and a monumental mess, Thibodeau would be done as a head basketball coach — in the NBA or at a top 200 college program.
The odds are improving by the moment that Taylor will fire Thibodeau, but it won’t be something that fulfills a hope for Thibs.
The reports from Wednesday’s practice described a chaotic scene during which Butler charged onto a practice court, checked himself into a 5-on-5 session with third-teamers, and screamed profanely at various parties — coaches, teammates, and GM Scott Layden.
The greatest embarrassment in all of this is that Thibodeau apparently did not confront Butler in any manner. The coach might have seen more practice energy than in the entire preseason, but he also lost this roster forever if he would not challenge Butler.
There was insight sought from a Chicago media person who had watched Butler from the start of his career. The suggestion was that Jimmy came into the league driven by his underdog status, and that changed a few years later when he started hanging out with Wahlberg and seeing himself as a star.
The feeling in Chicago was that Butler’s game stopped growing three, four years ago, as his head grew ever larger.
Thibodeau was the Bulls coach when Butler arrived in 2011. The pair probably was joined at the hip in the early years, as Butler was writing that terrific underdog story.
Thibs was fired after the 2014-15 season. He was out of the picture as Jimmy’s head — meaning, ego — grew larger, to the point the Bulls decided to trade him before the Butler distraction grew into something more serious.
The legend was that Thibodeau was getting back his No. 1 guy, Butler, when the Wolves traded what are now three players for Butler in June 2017.
We now know Thibodeau was wrong. He wasn’t getting hard-nosed, underdog Jimmy Butler, the player he had coached in Chicago. He was getting bigheaded Jimmy, a star with no interest in having a co-star, an egomaniac the Bulls were delighted to trade.
Repeatedly last season, I wondered why Thibodeau’s play call for a last possession in a tight game was to have someone toss the ball to Butler, so he could yo-yo with the ball 23 feet from the basket until there were four seconds left, and then throw up a game-losing rock.
“Why not get the ball to KAT and see if you can actually get a good shot?’’ you would mumble.
And now we know:
Butler was the star who had to be the hero, and Thibs didn’t have the guts to take the ball away from him. And it’s now reported the coach didn’t have the guts to take practice away from Butler on Wednesday.