There's only a month until the Minnesota Timberwolves open up training camp and their head coach and President of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau is already answering questions about the future of Jimmy Butler.
Butler who can become a free agent at the end of the season was reportedly uncertain about playing with the Timberwolves two young stars Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns.
On Monday, at the Minnesota State Fair, Thibodeau responded to fan questions regarding a potential Butler departure via free agency by saying "the winning will take care of that," and "I respectfully disagree" when a fan questioned the team's unity according to the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda.
"I've been around a long time; I don't buy into any of that stuff," Thibodeau said. "You have to distinguish what's real and what's not real. You never heard any of that come from Jimmy's mouth.
"It's always a source close to Jimmy. If Jimmy has something to say to someone, he usually says it directly."
Before Butler went down with a meniscus injury in February last season, the Timberwolves were in third place in the Western Conference. They eventually won 47 games and clinched a playoff berth on the last night of the season for the first time since 2004.
Thibodeau also reminded fairgoers that with Butler, Wiggins and Towns in the lineup, Minnesota was 27-10 against Western Conference opponents.
"The biggest thing is chemistry on the floor and winning," Thibodeau added. "How efficient they are tells you there's strong chemistry on the floor."
The Timberwolves did offer Butler a $110 million contract extension at the start of July, but the four-time all-star turned it down - he'll be eligible to make $187 million dollars with the team after this season.
The move was "anticipated" by Thibodeau and the organization but they wanted Butler to feel valued and a part of the future in Minnesota.
"We wanted him to know how important he is to the future of the organization. The winning will take care of that. We know the position we're in.
"We have a lot to offer him. We think this is the best place for him, and it's up to us to show him the reasons why."