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Entering a contract year, Jimmy Butler says 'it's all about being wanted and winning'

Butler can become a free agent after the 2018-19 season.

How long will Jimmy Butler play for the Minnesota Timberwolves?

It's a significant question, and with just one year left on his contract the pending answer will have huge impact on the Wolves one way or another. 

In an interview last week with the Chicago Sun-Times, Butler explained that his decision will be all about winning. 

“Decisions I make, the money, my contract, all of that will handle itself," Butler told Joe Cowley. "I don’t ever worry about my money. I already have enough money for the rest of my life. It’s all about winning."

The Wolves were 37-22 with Butler in the lineup and just 10-13 without him, so it's clear that Minnesota is a winner with him on the floor. 

But will he trust the process of learning how to win the playoffs or grow frustrated by the lack of effort he called his Wolves teammates out about in early April?

"Teams just do whatever they want against us," Butler said April 3. "I don't like it. Ain't no coach in the world that can make somebody play hard. Ain't no coach in the world that can make anybody want it." 

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It's bad enough that he publicly questioned his teammates' will to win that late in the season. It's worse when he tells the Sun-Times that a return to the Bulls someday would be "amazing." 

“If the time comes where I say, ‘You know what, I do want to end this thing in a Bulls jersey,’ I think that would be amazing. But it’s all about being wanted and winning." 

If Butler goes back to Chicago after next season, it would be the ultimate disaster for Minnesota, who traded Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the No. 7 pick in last year's draft (stud rookie Lauri Markkanen) to get Butler. 

If it were to happen, all the Wolves would have left from the Butler trade would be Justin Patton, whose 2017-18 season featured more surgeries on his foot (2) than games played (1). 

It's an alarming scenario to think about, so let's just hope Butler doesn't go back to the Bulls until much later in his career, like Kevin Garnett did a couple of years ago with the Wolves. 

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