According to a piece by Zach Harper at The Athletic, it was early in Jimmy Butler's first season with the Minnesota Timberwolves that he realized Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins weren't good fits for him.
“Nobody gives a [expletive] what you did in college once you get to the NBA,” a source close to the Timberwolves told The Athletic. “Karl failed to recognize that everybody is good in college. Look at (Carmelo Anthony). Bro won a (national championship) at Syracuse. He’s scrutinized at the NBA level as some sort of loser by some folks. KAT didn’t even do that at Kentucky.”
Some sources around the team posit the moment being in line with a Dec. 12 game against the Philadelphia 76ers in which Towns was thoroughly outplayed by “rival” big Joel Embiid.
Butler was entering the final season of his contract and wanted an assurance he would get a max contract in free agency. With that seeming unlikely after the Wolves had already committed approximately $300 million to Towns and Wiggins, he began angling for a trade.
Butler infamously led a third string unit to a victory over the starters. Butler defended Towns and maybe took one shot attempt.
“Jimmy didn’t need to lead by scoring that day,” a team source said about that practice. “He wanted to lead by being the toughest MFer in the room. He put on a show and it was uncomfortable for a lot of people.”