MIAMI – Andrew Wiggins, in his usual stoic demeanor, didn’t take back anything he said after Friday’s loss to the Hawks. Wiggins said then that the Timberwolves had some good fans and used an expletive to describe “bad” fans who were booing during that loss.
After shootaround Sunday, Wiggins doubled back on his comments, but without the curse words.
“If the shoe fits, wear it,” Wiggins said. “There’s going to be some good ones. There’s going to be some bad ones. People that react bad are the bad ones. If the shoe fits, you know?”
Wolves fans have had a hot and cold relationship with the maximum-salary forward, and the frustrating part of that came to the forefront when Wiggins missed four of six free throws in overtime against a beatable Hawks team.
“They were just booing when we were still trying to win,” Wiggins said. “But it is what it is. I didn’t want to let it get to me. I’ve made big shots. I’ve made a lot of big shots in my career.”
What might have been
The Heat and Timberwolves were dance partners during the Jimmy Butler trade talks throughout the preseason and early part of the regular season. Aside from the 76ers, who ultimately got the Wolves to pull the trigger on a deal, the Heat was perhaps the closest to making a deal for Butler in a package that centered around young Josh Richardson and a first-round pick.
Richardson has gone on to lead the Heat in scoring this season at 18.4 points per game, a 5.5-point increase from a season ago.
“I think it’s good for players to go through that because at some point you’re always going to be involved in it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the rumors. “For a lot of us that have been around here for a long time, we’re used to it, able to compartmentalize and focus on the only thing that matters and that’s the guys in the locker room and preparing to do your best that night.”
The deal in early October was close to the finish line before the Wolves backed out at the last minute, a source told the Star Tribune then. When the Wolves left the table, Heat President Pat Riley was reportedly furious with coach Tom Thibodeau and used an expletive to describe him, but Riley released a statement denying that report.
Thibodeau smiled when asked about that before the game.
“I’ve got a great relationship with Pat and I have the ultimate respect for him,” Thibodeau said. “All the things he’s done, he might be the all-time greatest coach in the history of the league. I’ve known him for a long time. I don’t think he would say something like that, but I have the ultimate respect for him.”
Teague, Rose both out
Jeff Teague missed his seventh consecutive game Sunday because of a left ankle injury, while Derrick Rose missed the game because of a right ankle injury he suffered Friday. Thibodeau said both were “better” but “they’re not quite ready.” The Wolves will re-evaluate both before Monday’s game in New Orleans.