Jimmy Butler holds nothing back in return to Timberwolves practice
Jimmy Butler, who asked for a trade more than three weeks ago, practiced with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the first time this season on Wednesday. ESPN reported that Butler verbally challenged players, coaches, and even general manager Scott Layden in the practice, during which Butler dominated the team’s scrimmages even when going up against stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. In an interview taped with ESPN after practice, Butler said ‘‘a lot’’ of the network’s report was true and that the scene in practice was him just showing passion and being ‘‘brutally honest.’’ ‘‘All my emotion came out at one time,’’ Butler said in the interview. ‘‘Was it the right way to do it? No. But I can’t control that when I’m out there competing. That’s my love of the game. That’s raw me. Me at my finest, me at my purest. That’s what you’re going to get inside the lines.’’ The four-time NBA All-Star said he warned coach Tom Thibodeau before practice that he would let his emotions out if he played, and that’s apparently what happened . . . Tex Winter , the innovative ‘‘Triangle Offense’’ pioneer who assisted Phil Jackson on 11 NBA championship teams with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, died in Manhattan, Kan. He was 96 . . . WNBA star Candace Parker was hired by Turner Sports as an analyst and commentator for NBA games this season on TNT and NBA TV.
Fixer decribes payments
Former Adidas consultant Thomas ‘‘T.J.’’ Gassnola of Springfield testified he arranged cash payments to the families of top college basketball prospects in a scheme to steer them to major programs. Gassnola told a jury at a New York City trial that he helped broker the deals involving players including Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, the top pick in this year’s NBA draft, and Louisville’s Brian Bowen Jr. He also named Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa of Kansas and Dennis Smith Jr. of North Carolina State. He testified that the covert payments to youth league players and college prospects were known as ‘‘black ops’’ among a team of fixers. Gassnola was director of an Adidas-sponsored AAU team in Western Massachusetts. Gassnola is cooperating with federal prosecutors, and has pleaded guilty to wire fraud over the payments. On trial are aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins, former amateur coach Merl Code and former Adidas executive James Gatto. They’re charged with defrauding major colleges by concealing the payments . . . New Hampshire quarterback Trevor Knight and Norwich receiver Manni Romero received the Week 6 Gold Helmets from the New England Football Writers. Knight was 22-of-38 passing for 237 yards and four touchdowns in a 28-0 win over Holy Cross. Romero hauled in 10 catches for a school-record 272 yards and two scores in a 33-24 loss to Merchant Marine . . . Harvard coach Tim Murphy said senior Tom Stewart will replace sophomore Jake Smith at quarterback Friday night against Holy Cross at the Stadium.
Just a sprain for Peterson
Redskins running back Adrian Peterson avoided a major injury after dislocating his shoulder during Monday’s loss to the Saints and has been diagnosed with a shoulder sprain, according to a person with knowledge of the injury, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. It is unclear if Peterson will miss any games . . . The Jaguars ruled out running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) for their game at Dallas. It will be the fourth game Fournette has missed this season. The Jaguars (3-2) signed veteran Jamaal Charles on Tuesday with the expectation that Fournette would be sidelined for an extended period. They also placed third-stringer Corey Grant (foot) on injured reserve.
Maine hosts Alpine tourney
Maine’s Sugarloaf ski area will host the first US Alpine Speed Championships in March, US Ski & Snowboard announced Wednesday. Downhill, super-G, and Alpine combined events will be held March 16-21. Just two days later, the US Alpine Championships will shift to Waterville Valley in New Hampshire for slalom, giant slalom, and parallel slalom races on March 23-26 . . . Rose Lavelle and Alex Morgan scored two goals apiece to help the United States beat Trinidad and Tobago, 7-0, in Cary, N.C., in the Women’s World Cup soccer qualifying tournament. The US advanced to the CONCACAF Women’s Championship semifinals in Frisco, Texas, on Sunday . . . Russian soccer players Alexander Kokorin and Pavel Mamayev, who have been accused of beating a government official at a Moscow cafe, are in custody on hooliganism charges pending an investigation . . . Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus will end their working relationship — the longest pairing of a driver and crew chief in present day NASCAR — after this season in a personnel shakeup at Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson has not won a race in 17 months and was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. Johnson and Knaus won their record-tying seventh Cup championship in 2016 . . . Sukhmander Singh, owner of Adesh Deol Trucking, the Canadian trucking company involved in a fatal hockey team bus crash that killed 16 people in Saskatchewan in April, was charged with eight counts of non-compliance with federal and provincial safety regulations over a six-month period. Thirteen people were also injured when a semi-trailer and the Humboldt Broncos hockey bus collided. Singh declined comment. Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, who was driving the semi unit, was charged earlier this year with dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm . . . Former America’s Cup champion Rome Kirby of Newport, R.I., was named skipper and helmsman of the US team in SailGP, the new global sailing league.