National Basketball Association
The feud between Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns heats up
National Basketball Association

The feud between Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns heats up

Published May. 8, 2021 9:17 p.m. ET

If you thought the beef between former teammates Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns was a thing of the past, think again. 

The ongoing feud between Butler and Towns was on full display during the Miami Heat's 121-112 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

During the live television broadcast, some of the back-and-forth between Butler and Towns was picked up via the on-court microphones, including the Heat star calling Towns "a loser." The Timberwolves’ center laughed off the comment, but Butler kept talking trash.

"You soft as baby s---," Butler said. "I already punked you once."

Towns replied by telling Butler to "call Rachel Nichols."

Over the years, Butler has done several interviews with ESPN's Nichols, host of "The Jump." They include Butler talking about his first season with the Heat in 2019, his hard offensive foul on Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul last year in the NBA bubble, and his relentless desire to beat LeBron James — so Towns took the opportunity to throw shade his way during Friday night's quarrel. 

But the interview Towns was referring to was the 2018 sit-down chat that came in the aftermath of the infamous Timberwolves’ practice on Oct. 10 of that season. On that occasion, Butler, aka "Jimmy Buckets," combined with the third-stringers to beat his fellow starters in a scrimmage.


Butler also allegedly caused a scene during the scrimmage by verbally challenging then-head coach Tom Thibodeau and then-general manager Scott Layden, and mocking Towns and former teammate Andrew Wiggins. Towns reportedly got fed up with Butler's remarks and kicked the ball out on the possession.

That practice was the first time Butler took the floor since requesting a trade the month prior. The reason for the request, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, was that Butler had "been frustrated with the nonchalant attitudes of younger teammates — specifically Karl-Anthony Towns" and didn’t "intend to sign an extension with the Timberwolves" because of it. 

Butler ultimately forced his way out of Minnesota and he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers after one season with the Wolves. 

In regards to this most recent spark in their feud, some critics say the exchange went too far, but if you ask Timberwolves star rookie shooting guard Anthony Edwards, what’s competition without a little trash talk?

After the game was over, it appears things were squashed just as quickly as they started. Butler and KAT had a "nice little conversation" before the night was over, according to The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski. 

The Timberwolves (20-47) are second-to-last in the Western Conference, while the 36-31 Heat are sixth in the East, although they lost 119-111 to Minnesota earlier in the season. 

With only five games left in the regular season, we'll soon see if Butler is able to reel in his NSFW smack talk.

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