BOSTON — Three times when asked by MassLive about the drama between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jimmy Butler over the weekend, Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown repeated the same phrase.
“Jimmy’s a stone-cold killer.”
Brown would know. He worked out with Butler both last summer and this summer, since both players share a trainer. Brown said Butler’s workout routine is bare bones and intentional.
“He’s out in L.A., middle of nowhere, somewhere in Calabasas,” Brown said. “He wakes up at like 4:30 in the morning, and he’s working at five. It’s not for the internet. He’s really doing that. I mean, he’s that dedicated to the craft and the game. People have similar dedications, but I haven’t seen nobody — too many people like Jimmy.”
Butler’s fanatical dedication to work and improving his craft has earned him the respect of many of his peers. Brown said Butler doesn’t really go out, preferring to spend his evenings playing cards at his house.
“He lives a very simple life,” Brown said. “He’s very content with himself, he’s very aware of himself. He carries himself the way he wants to carry himself. And I respect it. You can’t do nothing but respect it. He’s not out in the club all night, he’s not really doing stuff he’s not supposed to be doing. He keeps his head down, and he works.”
In September, Butler requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves. But the Timberwolves and coach Tom Thibodeau have been hesitant to give up Butler, hoping he will change his mind and re-sign this summer.
On Wednesday, Butler went to a Timberwolves practice and, as was well-documented by reporters, berated Timberwolves coaches, players and management. He also reportedly led the Timberwolves’ third string to a victory over the starters.
Asked about the situation in Minnesota, Brown smiled.
“Jimmy’s a stone-cold killer,” Brown repeated. “Nothing point blank about it. His work ethic speaks for itself, and I think that situation speaks for itself.”
Marcus Morris added that Butler was simply trying to improve his situation.
“I mean, he’s dictating his own destiny,” Morris said. “He feels a certain way, he’s gonna do what he wants. I just know if that was me, it’d get taken way out of proportion. But that’s different, and I respect him for doing what he’s doing. Just talking about honesty. It would definitely be better if everyone was honest, but I think at the same time, I guess he knows what he’s doing, his representation knows what it’s doing, so kudos to him.”
So what would happen if a player attempted to berate Celtics players at a practice?
“Ain’t nobody coming in like that, not while I’m in the gym,” Morris said. “There’s gonna be something bigger than that, and they ain’t gonna be busting our ass like that. Minnesota has been known to be a little soft, so you know how that goes.”
Brown was a little more reserved.
“I can’t speak for everybody, I can only speak for myself,” Brown said. “Jimmy knows what type of energy I bring. But it’s interesting to see in Minnesota, because it’s a different dynamic in this locker room. It definitely probably wouldn’t fly over here. Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, Aron Baynes, me, yeah. We got something to say, we got a lot of fight in us. I think we showed that last year.
“Jimmy’s a stone-cold killer, I ain’t gonna lie to you.”