LOS ANGELES – After an NBA All-Star Game in which he chose not to play, Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler said he hasn’t talked to coach/president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau about whether free agent Derrick Rose can help their team win.
But Butler said he expects they will have that conversation.
“That’s not my job,” Butler said. “Is he a hell of a player? Yeah. But that’s up to Thibs and everybody else to figure if he has a place on this roster and this team. Obviously, I’ve played with him before. I know the talent he has. It’s not my job to say.”
NBA teams must acquire players by March 1 to make them eligible for the playoffs.
Butler and Rose were teammates in Chicago for five seasons before the Bulls traded Rose to New York in June 2016. Thibodeau coached both players those five seasons.
The 2009 Rookie of the Year and 2011 league MVP, Rose is a three-time All-Star who has undergone four knee surgeries in his nine-year pro career. At age 29, he is a free agent seeking to play for his third team in the past 13 months after Cleveland dealt him to Utah at the trade deadline earlier this month and the Jazz promptly waived him.
A point guard, Rose remained a free agent Monday. The Wolves already have starting point guard Jeff Teague and reserves Tyus Jones and Aaron Brooks.
“Does Thibs need to talk to me about it? Not really,’’ Butler said. ‘‘I will talk to him about it. I’m sure he’ll ask me as he always does. But it’s not my job. I’ll give my input, I’ll tell you that. I’ll give my input.”
Wolves veteran forward Taj Gibson played with Butler and Rose for those five seasons. Earlier this month, he said he’d like to see Rose join the Wolves, but also said that is not his job or decision to make.
“Of course, that’s my guy,” Gibson said the day after Rose was traded to Utah. “We’ve been in the trenches a long time. It’d be good to have him on our team. Just having that veteran leadership would be good. I’ll just let Thibs handle that.”
Asked generically about Rose at Saturday’s All-Star interview sessions, Butler said: “He’s going to help whatever organization he’s playing for. I’m not a GM, obviously I can’t sign him. But I’ve played with him and he’s a hell of a talent. Nobody will say Derrick Rose doesn’t belong in this league.”
The Wolves return to practice Wednesday after a five-day break and resume the remaining 21 games of their schedule Friday at Houston.
While teammate Karl-Anthony Towns delivered yet another 17-point, 10-rebound double-double — this one, All-Star style — Butler was the only player selected to play in Sunday’s game who opted not to play at all.
“Just got to rest my body,” he said. “I play a lot of minutes in the regular season, if you didn’t know and I’m OK with it. But this weekend, you’ve just got to rest. I’m OK with it. I don’t think it’s a big deal. It is what it is. I’ll be OK when Friday comes around.”
Houston’s Mike D’Antoni coached the Team Steph, for which both Towns and Butler were selected.
When asked why Butler was the only All Star who didn’t play, D’Antoni said, “He was tired and he just felt like his legs weren’t there. He didn’t practice yesterday or play today. You have to respect that. He plays hard. Sometimes your body just needs a rest.”
Butler watched an All-Star Game that turned competitive in the game’s final minutes, which included a controversial video review, a blocked shot and a defensive stand by superstar LeBron James and Kevin Durant that sealed the victory 148-145 for the team James captained.
They trapped Stephen Curry with the ball along the sideline as the game’s final seconds ticked away and prevented his team from getting a quality shot at tying the game.
It was the kind of defense that Butler plays.
“I felt the urge, I won’t lie to you,” Butler said. “We were laughing about it on the bench. They could see me over there, itching to get out there. The guys understood. You have to rest your body.”