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Jimmy Butler not expecting warm welcome in Minnesota


Janiel Abby Toralba

For the first time since his transfer to the Philadelphia 76ers, Jimmy Butler will be setting foot once again at the Target Center. However, this time, the crowd may not be as warm and cheerful as it had once been. Jimmy knows full well what kind of welcome awaits him, but it looks like it doesn’t bother him at all.

“They’re going to boo me,” Butler told The New York Times. “I would boo me, too. I’m not going to lie to you. I would boo the heck out of myself. … I might actually join in on the boos.”

Timberwolves fans watched in dismay as Butler forced his way out of Minnesota after leading his former team to its first playoffs in 14 seasons. Before the start of the 2018 season, he had already demanded for a trade, but was forced to play for the team when the trade was not achieved. After appearing in 10 games, he was finally traded to the Sixers in November in exchange for Robert Covington and Dario Savic.

The 4-time NBA All-Star remains unfazed being painted in a bad light. “It’s O.K. It’s fine. I don’t need everybody to like me. I know who I am. I can’t say that enough. I know what I’m about. I know where my heart is. People will say, ‘He’s this way, or he’s that way,’ but nobody knows except for the people around me every day. Ask them and they’ll tell you differently.”

The 29-year-old guard/forward maintained that he regrets nothing moving to Philadelphia, even if he had to sacrifice and had seen lesser playing time than when he was in Minnesota. He has scaled back on his shooting percentage (46.6) in the 51 games he has played for the Sixers, averaging only 18.7 points and 5.2 rebounds. He says that for the first time, he’s on a team that can actually contend for the NBA Finals.

The two teams will face off on Sunday (Manila time). With a 47-27 win-loss record, the Sixers are currently in the third seed of the Eastern Conference, while the Timberwolves sit at the 10th place of the Western Conference.