SAN FRANCISCO – Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau was smiling and joking with media members after the Wolves’ practice in San Francisco at the University of California San Francisco.
It was the happiest Thibodeau seemed since the Wolves began training camp without Jimmy Butler, who requested a trade last week.
Thibodeau, however, didn’t much feel like talking about Butler, preferring to talk about the “players who are here.”
Thibodeau indicated, however, that Butler’s trade request hasn’t much affected their relationship.
“That’s the NBA. That’s part of everyone’s job,” Thibodeau said. “Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. You have to be focused on what your job is. My job is to do what’s best for the Timberwolves and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Thibodeau trotted out a few variants of his go-to “do your job” mantra when asked about how the Wolves are navigating practices without Butler being too much of a distraction.
“That’s part of being a pro,” Thibodeau said. “So in this league there could be distractions every day if you allow it, so it’s important to understand how to approach your job and I think we have a good mix of veterans who have bene through it and they understand how important training camp is and getting ready for the season.”
Games already: Just four days after beginning practice, the Wolves will have their first preseason game Saturday against the defending champion Warriors. To a veteran like Luol Deng, the timing of the first game feels “weird.”
“The way that it goes now, there’s less games, nobody is going to be ready from the get go,’ Deng said. “The preseason is almost like an open run at this point. It’s ironing out your plays, your system and your defensive sets, just really getting comfortable with each other.”