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If the Jimmy Butler rumors are true, Wolves have to trade him

Will Tom Thibodeau trade the player he gave so much up to get?

This summer has been a disaster for the Wolves, with reports of internal problems between Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins, Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns, and Towns and the front office

Is it fake news or is there fire behind all the smoke?

Regardless, the negativity has been magnified by social media panic, all the while nary a peep has come from the organization other than a pre-draft press conference in which Thibodeau smiled and said: "I love KAT," noting that disagreements are part of a team's growth. 

It was reassuring to a degree, but not enough to convince anyone that all is well at 600 N. 1st Ave. 

Butler has remained mostly quiet, aside from a brief Instagram story in which he said he knows where he wants to be. It was noncommittal at best, and far from what a veteran leader could do to calm a storm.

Wiggins? Not a word. 

Towns? Complete silence. 

No matter how you slice it, it's an awful look for a franchise that claims to on the up and up. 

It's even worse if the writing for Butler's future is on the wall, a la Joe Cowley's report in which he cited sources saying Butler has no intention of signing an extension with the Wolves. If true, Thibodeau has an opportunity to do the right thing, but it will require disconnecting from his prodigal son and trading him for assets rather than watching him leave as a free agent, for nothing, next summer. 

If Cowley's report is true, it would be selfish beyond measure for Thibodeau to not trade Butler. And for what, another first-round exit in the playoffs?

Fans don't want any part of that, and if it means dealing Butler now, possibly sacrificing a playoff run next season to protect the future, then Thibodeau has to do it, and he has to do it before next February's NBA trade deadline. 

On the other side of the coin, maybe Cowley's report and all of the others are fake news. Maybe Butler respects the way Wiggins and Towns approach the game. Maybe KAT isn't upset with the front office. 

In that case, more power to to Thibodeau and we'll go about our lives trusting the process. But if Thibodeau has any inkling that Butler doesn't want to be in Minnesota, he needs to do what's best for the franchise and make a deal.

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