Welcome to the Thursday edition of The Cooler, where skepticism is the default setting. Let’s get to it:
*The latest rumor — or more like it the new old rumor — afflicting Timberwolves fans this offseason is that Wolves star Jimmy Butler would like to team up with Kyrie Irving next offseason when both could be free agents. The Knicks and Nets are mentioned as possible landing spots for the pair by Business Insider, rekindling chatter about the duo that surfaced last month.
Any rumblings about Butler wanting to ditch Minnesota after what would be just two seasons with the Timberwolves are concerning to a degree, but let’s also remember this: Rumors about what might happen a year from now need to be taken with a requisite grain of salt.
Approximately 18 billion things will happen in the NBA between now and next summer that could influence the markets or decisions for one or both of those players. So there’s no need to panic or even think too much about this yet.
What rumors like this do underscore (yet again) is just how important this upcoming season is for the Wolves. If they take another step and win a playoff series, one could envision Butler wanting to stay and the core being kept intact.
If everything falls apart, it’s easy to picture a scenario where Butler is traded before the deadline or walks in free agency, at which point Tom Thibodeau’s status would be very much in question.
If the Wolves are somewhere in the middle and finish as a fringe playoff team? That’s the most plausible and interesting scenario, and as a result it’s the one that would bring with it the toughest decisions.
But it’s August right now. The regular season starts in two months. The offseason is almost a full year away. Let’s see how it all unfolds.
*Speaking of the Timberwolves, ESPN has an interesting piece on how backup guard Derrick Rose is still massively popular in China. Adidas still cranks out a Rose signature sneaker every year, a lucrative deal that our own Lee Schafer wrote about last month. More than 70 percent of the sales of Rose’s shoes come from China, per ESPN.
*Jalen Ramsey made an Enemy List 2018 when he ripped a bunch of NFL quarterbacks in a recent GQ piece. The harshest criticism was of Bills rookie Josh Allen, and now Allen has responded: “He’s not on my team, he’s not my teammate, it don’t bother me.” The Jaguars play the Bills on Nov. 25.