October 13, 2018 / 3:34 AM / 3 days ago

Thunder's George takes Butler's side in dispute

Oklahoma City’s Paul George says he can somewhat relate to the situation involving shooting guard Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota Timberwolves, and George has a message.

FILE PHOTO: Apr 25, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) drives past Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (23) for the basket in the second half in game five of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Even in trying to get traded, Butler “wants the best for that organization,” George told reporters on Friday, adding that he has spoken with Butler about the drama with the Timberwolves.

“Jimmy has a very valid point,” George said. “I’m on Jimmy’s side. It’s not coming from a place where he’s going against an organization.”

Butler, who is entering the final season of his contract, has expressed frustration with the lack of effort he has seen from some of his young Timberwolves teammates, and George says he can see where that would bother Butler.

“Jimmy’s a guy, his whole career, he made it into the league off work, off him having to grind and scratch and claw to get to where he’s at,” George said.

“And then he sees the potential he has around him and he just wants guys to match that because if guys are skilled and have that ‘it’ like KAT (Karl-Anthony Towns) has, like Andrew Wiggins has, they have that ‘it’ that a lot of guys don’t have, now they just have to match it with what Jimmy’s bringing to the table. I’m all for what Jimmy is trying to do over there.”

Butler returned to Timberwolves practice this week, although he reportedly had words with teammates in a blowup on Wednesday, prompting the cancellation of Thursday’s practice in advance of the team’s final preseason game Friday.

What’s getting overlooked, George said, is that in pushing to get moved now, Butler is trying to allow the Timberwolves to get something back for him rather than seeing him leave as a free agent after the season and not have anything to show for it.

While George didn’t ask for a trade out of Indianapolis, he did make the Pacers’ front office well aware that he wouldn’t be returning as a free agent, so the team was motivated to make a deal.

When the Pacers did trade him, they got Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in return.

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