One name brought up often in recent days has been Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, who could become available should the Raptors look to make wholesale changes following a third straight loss to LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Wiggins’ Canadian roots could make him an attractive option for the Raptors and good reason to hope that they could get the best out of him while playing in his backyard. In some ways, DeRozan could provide a good blueprint for Wiggins to follow. DeRozan didn’t become a real star in the league until his fifth year and has proven to be effective even though he isn’t a knockdown three-point shooter. But his game is also similar to Butler’s, so it is hard to see how a swap like that would give the Wolves what they are looking for in terms of a different look aside their leader.
October 20, 2018 | 8:20 am EDT Update
Russell Westbrook sat out Friday’s game against the LA Clippers, the second straight game he has missed as he recovers from knee surgery, but he is eyeing a possible return in Sunday’s game against the Sacramento Kings.
After going through an energetic post-shootaround workout, which included a few emphatic tomahawk dunks, Westbrook met with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s medical staff and decided to sit against the Clippers. He has been increasing his practice workload, including being cleared for basically full-contact practices and drills. “A lot of it is him and the medical staff talking to each other and him giving feedback,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “In my conversations with him, it’s always how he’s feeling the next day. And I think for him, he needs to be right because you don’t want to have something lingering. And he knows his body better than anybody else.”
Erik Horne: Donovan on Russell Westbrook: “If he was cleared to play, he’d be playing.” Donovan says Westbrook is still doing controlled contact. “Russell, the medical staff, they’re all communicating.”
Jimmy Butler encouraged the fans to boo him, and the Minnesota crowd obliged. But some appeared to quickly forget their anger. The Timberwolves’ home opener began Friday night with Butler getting heartily booed during introductions before facing the Cleveland Cavaliers. It ended with Butler on the free-throw line to seal a 131-123 victory and some of the same fans showering the disgruntled star with an “M-V-P!” chant. “I knew as soon as I made an effort play, it was going to turn into cheers,” Butler said. “I like it, though. Like I told you, it’s OK to boo me. I’m still going to play hard. I’m still going to try to my best to help win games. Boos, cheers, silence, I’ve got a job to do.”
Butler has been at the center of turmoil since demanding a trade last month. In an interview earlier this week, Butler said he anticipated a negative response from T’wolves fans but didn’t seem worried about it. “Sure. Go ahead, boo me,” Butler told The Athletic. “It ain’t going to change the way I play. That’s going to make me smile more. So please, come on with it.”
Jerebko crashed the basket and tipped in a shot against his former team with 0.3 seconds remaining to lift the Golden State Warriors to a 124-123 victory over the Jazz on Friday night. “My teammates knew this was a big game for me coming back here. I wanted to win and told them I really wanted this one,” said Jerebko, who couldn’t stop smiling after the victory.
Jonas Jerebko: What a feeling!! Felt great to be back winning in Salt Lake. I got some amazing teammates. Way to fight back and get the W! #dubnation #NBAse🇸🇪