Wolves fans rain boos on Butler during opener

MINNEAPOLIS — Disgruntled guard Jimmy Butler was booed when he was introduced and at times when he touched the ball at the Minnesota Timberwolves home opener Friday night.

It was a generally unpleasant mood at Target Center as the crowd also heavily booed coach and team president Tom Thibodeau on introduction and visiting Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, who requested a trade away from Minnesota four years ago.

Butler, who demanded a trade from the Wolves last month, also declined to acknowledge or shake hands with team owner Glen Taylor. In his normal seat at the end of the team bench, Taylor shook hands with several players but Butler walked by him.

Taylor and Butler met last week and agreed to an uneasy truce while the team continued to evaluate trade proposals, The Athletic reported.

Butler had a steal and then a basket early in the game that created some positive response from the crowd. But he made it clear earlier this week that he didn’t care how the fans reacted to him.

“Boo me,” Butler said. “It ain’t going to change the way I play; probably going to make me smile more. Please, come on with it.”

His Wolves teammates have been left in an awkward spot for weeks and it continued Friday. Butler barely practiced with the team before the start of the season.

“Jimmy doesn’t care,” teammate Tyus Jones said of the booing. “He handles his business when he’s on the court. Boos, cheers, whatever.”

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