Jimmy Butler.

Jimmy Butler explains how he and coach Thibodeau "couldn't stand each other"

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After being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves this summer, Jimmy Butler was given an opportunity to team up with his former head coach Tom Thibodeau once again.

It was Thibodeau who gave the All-Star guard his big break in Chicago as he blossomed into one of the league's top players following their five years together.

Despite having big players such as Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah on the roster, Thibs gave the reins of the team to Butler and put a lot of faith in him as a leader.

The pair share a great relationship and Butler was delighted to be reunited with him this offseason after the Bulls decided to move towards a rebuilding phase.

But the 28-year-old has admitted that he hasn't always seen eye-to-eye with his head coach and says they initially "couldn't stand each other".

However, they've come a long way since that time and in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins, the Timberwolves star described the moment during his rookie season where things began to turn around for the two.

"I pull up at (the team's practice facility) 6 a.m. - I'm gonna beat his ass today!' - and I see (Thibodeau's) damn black Range Rover parked out front," Butler said.

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves

"Next morning I get there at 5:45 - I'm definitely gonna beat his ass today!' - and there it is again. Then, late at night, I come back to shoot with Luol (Deng), and it's still parked in that same spot.

"It's like, 'O.K., forget it, I can't beat the guy. So I'm just gonna run through a wall for this motherf------.'"

The hard work has certainly paid off for Butler as he went from the 30th pick in the 2011 draft to a three-time All-Star, an All-NBA and All-Defensive player.

He also won an Olympic Gold Medal with Team USA in Rio last year.


Last season, the Marquette product averaged career-highs across the board putting up 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.9 steals.

Thibodeau will hope he can replicate this level in Minnesota and help the franchise end its 13-year playoff drought.

Alongside the talented duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, Butler has the pieces around him to help lead the team to the postseason.

But he will be competing in the Western Conference for the first time and will quickly discover that wins are much harder to come by than they were in the east.

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