“That’s part of being a pro,” Thibodeau said. “So in this league there could be distractions every day if you allow it, so it’s important to understand how to approach your job and I think we have a good mix of veterans who have been through it and they understand how important training camp is and getting ready for the season.”
Tom Thibodeau didn’t much feel like talking about Butler, preferring to talk about the “players who are here.” Thibodeau indicated, however, that Butler’s trade request hasn’t much affected their relationship. “That’s the NBA. That’s part of everyone’s job,” Thibodeau said. “Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. You have to be focused on what your job is. My job is to do what’s best for the Timberwolves and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The Wolves asked about Josh Richardson, but the Heat - as of Thursday - was not interested in including him, according to a league source.
Ethan J. Skolnick: Jimmy Butler update: Multiple sources have told @5ReasonsSports & @FusaroESPN today that the Heat made what they deemed a "final offer" to the Wolves on Thursday morning & told the Wolves to sort out their situation..... It is not clear if that has changed since....
Ethan J. Skolnick: Two other league sources have told @5ReasonsSports that the Heat and Rockets were the teams most engaged in trade conversations with the Wolves to that point. There is also a belief the Clippers could change the equation if they offer more. Mostly, teams are waiting on Thibodeau.
Drafted 21st overall and acquired in a trade by Flip Saunders on Draft Night 2013, Gorgui Dieng is the longest-tenured player on the 2018-19 Minnesota Timberwolves roster. He is also the most likely player on the roster not named Jimmy Butler to be traded in the coming days, according to league sources.
The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly sought Ben Simmons in a potential Jimmy Butler trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. Appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast on Thursday, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor explained just how high the Timberwolves' asking price is for their disgruntled shooting guard: "One of the things that I've heard from a handful of sources is that—with the Sixers for example—the initial offer that they made, the counter-offer was like, 'We need Ben Simmons in a deal.'"
Sam Amick: All the noise about Jimmy Butler yesterday was about Miami, but it’s clear Minnesota’s price tag remains extremely high. To highlight one rumored team, I’m told Philly is currently completely out of the JB situation and has never had any traction after preliminary discussions.
Sam Amick: The Kings remain interested in serving as a third team, with focus on landing a 2019 first rounder. But as of late last night, no scenarios were even remotely firm. Prospect of bad contracts coming their way is in play, but they’ll be cautious about impacting future flexibility.
The Minnesota Timberwolves' asking price to trade All-Star forward Jimmy Butler remains quality veterans, top prospects, future assets and salary-cap relief, which is presently too steep of a package for interested teams, league sources told ESPN. Throughout trade talks, Minnesota Timberwolves president and coach Tom Thibodeau has continued to try to recruit Butler to ease off his trade demand and return to practice with the team, league sources said. Butler has yet to attend a Timberwolves workout and wants to sit out until the franchise executes a trade for him.
Mike Fisher: I mean, I just talked to #Mavs officials this am. They say they have NOT jumped into Jimmy Butler trade talks w Minn. So maybe ‘gauged price’ means they’ve simply had in-house discussion. pic.twitter.com/YTZ9UzJXGQ
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Reporting w/ Zach Lowe: Minnesota’s asking price for Jimmy Butler remains too steep for teams. Minny seeks quality vets/top prospects/future assets/cap relief. Too high a price for interested teams, including Miami. Sources are skeptical of Thibodeau’s desire to make deal.
Caris LeVert is unlikely to be going anywhere anytime soon. “First two days of training camp, he’s been fantastic, quite honestly. I’m going to call it like it is,” coach Kenny Atkinson said of LeVert. “I don’t really get into that type of stuff too much,” LeVert said. “Obviously as a player, it’s good to feel wanted, and it’s good for other people to acknowledge what you’ve been doing on the court. But, like I said, I don’t get into that too much. I love it here in Brooklyn, and I want to play here a long time.”
Ira Winderman: To follow up amid reports of Heat cancelling evening practice amid Butler buzz: Heat wanted to and were preparing to practice, but the court time preferred at FAU was not available, so held a team meeting. Same was the case on Tuesday night. He instead went longer Wed. morning.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Phoenix did check w/ Minnesota on cost of getting involved on a Jimmy Butler trade, but asking price was far too steep for Suns. So far, there's been no communication on Teague or Dragic in a 3-way, but that could always change if Miami-Minnesota go deeper into talks.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Miami has been the most engaged team with Minnesota on a Jimmy Butler trade. So far, no traction with Clippers and Nets. Houston's tried to be creative in its pursuit. It'll be a challenge -- although not impossible -- to get any Butler deal done without a third team.
Barry Jackson: Brian Windhorst reporting Spoelstra is pushing for Jimmy Butler deal. As we've noted over the past week, Spoelstra loves Butler, so this wouldn't be surprising.
Five Reasons Sports Network: Chasing more right now, but we can report this with multiple league sources as a network: The Heat have been aggressively trying to move Dion Waiters, even if it's not directly for Jimmy Butler. Similar to what @LeBatardShow said this morning. Different sources, I suspect.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Phoenix's pursuit of a starting point guard could factor into the Jimmy Butler trade discussions as a potential third-team partner, league sources tell ESPN. If Minnesota trades for Goran Dragic in a Miami/Butler scenario, that could make Wolves PG Jeff Teague available for Suns.
Meanwhile, the Heat continues to aggressively pursue a trade for the four-time All-Star, who has asked for a trade and informed the Timberwolves that he would not re-sign with them as a free agent next summer. An executive with another Eastern Conference team said he believes Miami is the leading contender for Butler but that wasn’t based on anything the Wolves have told him.
Marc Stein: Jimmy Butler and his agent Bernie Lee have informed Wolves ownership that Miami is Butler's preferred trade destination, league sources say
Marc Stein: The Heat have pursued Butler as aggressively as any of the 20-plus teams to inquire thus far but, like many, have found it hard to get Minnesota to clearly communicate. League sources say Miami is a team that strongly appeals to the free agent-to-be Butler after a trade
How hard would it be for the Nets to sacrifice assets for Butler, who wants a five-year max deal worth $190 million from the team that trades for him? “I don’t even think of that,” Atkinson said. “I let Sean think of those big-picture things, especially now in training camp. I do know players change in this league, and we’ve had changes in the past.”
“Honestly, guys are not really talking about it,” Crabbe said. “As long as I have a Brooklyn Nets jersey on, it’s about us continuing to get better and accomplishing those goals we have set for ourselves for the season. “I feel secure and I feel like, if anything did come up, I’m pretty sure they’ll pull me aside or notify my agent. But I haven’t heard anything.”
The rumor mill is in full force. Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota Timberwolves are having a messy breakup and it’s only going to get worse from here. According to an NBA source, the Kings are listening and even willing to participate in a large scale trade involving the Timberwolves and others, but only if it benefits the team both in the short-term and down the road.
Sacramento has been reluctant to add major contracts beyond this season. They have an estimated $60 million in room next summer and hope to jump into the free agent market with both feet. But the time to strike might come earlier if the right package of players and assets come available.
While Thibodeau said on Monday that last week was the first time Butler made a trade request, the warning signs of discontent were there much earlier. After the Rockets eliminated the Timberwolves in the first round of the playoffs in May, Butler did not fly with the team back to Minnesota, sources said. He took a flight to Los Angeles shortly after the game was over and refused to do the standard medical exam all players go through as part of their exit interviews.
A few days later, he started conveying his concern for the franchise and casting doubts on his willingness to stay long-term. Butler can become a free agent after this season, and his representatives talked with Thibodeau in July about his unwillingness to re-sign in Minnesota, sources said. Butler conveyed the same message directly to Thibodeau in August when the coach came to California to visit him after he had hand surgery, sources said.
Barry Jackson: Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau today, on Jimmy Butler's trade request: "We're going to honor his request but we're not going to do a bad deal.... We're trying to make the best deal for the Timberwolves."
Christopher Hine: Tom Thibodeau declined to talk about any discussions he had with Jimmy Butler yesterday. Said the organization is still working to honor Butler’s trade request.
Through it all, Butler has been adamant that nothing has changed or will change in his approach. He wants out today and will want out tomorrow and the day after that, sources told The Athletic. “We’re not going to be pressured into a bad deal,” Thibodeau said on Monday in his first public comments since the trade request was made.
Zach Lowe: Pitched in on this @Adrian Wojnarowski Wolves/Butler report late last night -- I can't remember teams trying to engage in trade talks being this confused/frustrated with the team trading the main player in question: espn.com/nba/story/_/id…
It’s easy to understand why he would welcome superstar Jimmy Butler with open arms. He’s a good guy who wants to win. It’s in his DNA, Hollis-Jefferson believes. But there’s also been a lot about how he doesn’t get along with young players, has coach issues. “If he [Jimmy Butler] comes, we’d love to have him. If not, we’ll just keep working and doing what we do best,” Hollis-Jefferson said of the Butler at Media Day.
As the standoff reaches a week old, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: Thibodeau isn’t bluffing when he says he sees a scenario where Butler dons a Timberwolves uniform again. “When I talk to Thibs he always tells me this is nothing and we’ve been through worse situations than this in Chicago. I kind of glanced at him with a smile,” Gibson said. “It’s weird. It’s really hard to explain. It’s a weird feeling right before training camp.”
To facilitate a Butler trade, the sort of broader deal necessary to meet the financial needs of Minnesota and Butler's future team, circumstances will necessitate bringing the Sacramento Kings into the process. If the Timberwolves remain intent on unloading backup center Gorgui Dieng and the three years, $48 million left on his contract, they'll need the Kings. No one in the NBA comes close to the $11 million in salary cap space that the Kings possess to absorb a contract, as well as the several expiring contracts -- including Zach Randolph ($11.6 million), Iman Shumpert ($11 million) and Kosta Koufos ($8.7 million) -- to move onto a team that prefers to clear cap space in July.
In recent days, Sacramento has been aggressive in courting Minnesota and several of Butler's trade suitors -- offering to use its space as a landing spot for bloated contracts. The Kings are without their first-round draft pick in 2019, and uniquely positioned to leverage that cap space into, at a minimum, a future first-round pick and maybe more as part of a Butler blockbuster. The Brooklyn Nets, LA Clippers and Miami Heat all have contracts that they'd love to unload, and a Butler deal could mean that they deliver Sacramento a pick and cash to take on a veteran player.
Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden, who is the point man for trade conversations, continue to leave rival executives and owners unclear about both the specific players and broader kinds of assets that the Wolves value in a deal, sources said. Even more doubt exists about whether there's even yet alignment between Taylor and Thibodeau on a structure and a timetable for a deal, league sources told ESPN.
That was directed at the rest of the league as a bargaining ploy for the kind of offers the Wolves are hoping to make for Butler. Along those lines, Tom Thibodeau, the coach and president of basketball operations, said the Wolves are open for business, but they aren’t going to sell Butler until the offer is right. “We’re not going to make a bad deal,” Thibodeau said. “If it’s a good deal, we’re interested. [Owner] Glen [Taylor], Scott, myself I think we’ve made that clear to everyone. I think Jimmy understands and the team understands. But you have to take the team first.”
Sources around the NBA told GetMoreSports.com that Wolves’ owner Glen Taylor was driving the bus on the constantly evolving trade discussions, and the three teams considered the most likely landing spots were the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat.
Word circulated around the NBA over the weekend that Brooklyn could get Butler in exchange for D’Angelo Russell (a close friend of Karl Anthony-Towns), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and another player or two whose salaries would make the deal work under NBA rules. But there was conflicting information coming in to GetMoreSports about the accuracy of that chatter. Butler rumors have been whirling since Friday when he told management he wanted to be dealt, and teams outside of New York, Los Angeles and Miami were being cautious, knowing that Butler could end up being a one-season rental since he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Among the players that make the most sense for matching salary with Butler is J.R. Smith, who is set to make $14.7 million this year with his 2019-20 contract only partially guaranteed. However, Smith isn’t too keen on the idea of going to Minnesota, as he recently told the group of guys with whom he was playing NBA 2K19 as they were getting ready for a game. “They trying to do a trade for Jimmy Butler? I ain’t going to Minnesota,” Smith says. “They can cancel my ticket for that. They can cancel Christmas for that. I ain’t going to no damn Minnesota. They better make it a three-way trade or something.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Minnesota Timberwolves President/Coach Tom Thibodeau met with All-Star forward Jimmy Butler on Monday and tried to convince him to eventually rejoin the team in the preseason, league sources tell ESPN. Butler is sitting out, awaiting the organization to honor his trade request.
Jon Krawczynski: Building off @Adrian Wojnarowski tweet: sources say Jimmy Butler remained resolute during his talk with Thibs that his position would not change.
Darren Wolfson: Just had heard again this morning that Miami is reluctant to move Richardson. But offering him might be their only path. So we'll see.
Darren Wolfson: Interesting day that isn't close to being over. Have a few min. to post videos. Here's Thibs/Layden on Butler trade request. See @ Jon Krawczynski saying to not sleep on Nets, LAC, Philly, which I have heard. Heard Kings today too. Heat still pushing.
Dane Moore: When asked if he sees the Jimmy Butler trade request as a distraction, Jeff Teague responded "I really don't." Jokingly said he pays more attention to pro wrestling.
John Meyer: Taj Gibson says all of this Jimmy Butler stuff really is distracting and it’s a weird feeling right before training camp. He also said Butler gave him a big hug after his physical today and he understands the NBA is a business.
Christopher Hine: Gibson on if Butler's trade talks are a distraction: "It is. It really is. You look at the talent and the strides we took last year just to get to the playoffs, so many up and downs and you get hit with a right hook before training camp, it's weird."
Christopher Hine: Taj Gibson said he was in "shock" when he heard about Butler's trade request. Said he had spoken with Butler right before it happened (but they didn't discuss basketball issues. They talked about Butler's birthday).
Christopher Hine: Luol Deng was thinking he would be coming here and getting to play with Jimmy Butler. "Every time I thought about how it would be or how it would go he was in my thoughts."
Dane Moore: "Whenever I thought about how it was going to be or how it was going to go, Jimmy was always in my thoughts. So, yes, I'm surprised." -- Luol Deng on Jimmy Butler's trade request.
Anthony Puccio: “If he [Jimmy Butler] comes, we’d love to have him. If not, we’ll just keep working and doing what we do best here.” - Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
John Meyer: Derrick Rose was asked about his feelings when he heard Jimmy Butler requested a trade. “I wish him nothing but happiness.” Rose says he thought the chemistry was good last season for the most part.
Right now, there’s no reason for any of the places Butler reportedly wants to go to give up picks or young players as part of a package for him. (Sources indicated over the weekend that the Knicks, supposedly one of those teams, haven’t made any inquiries about the 29 year old.) The Nets and Clippers, the two other teams reportedly on his short list, will have room for at least one -- and, most likely, two -- max free agents in the Summer of 2019. Each can just wait for Butler to opt out of his final year and become an unrestricted free agent, at which they can offer him a four-year max deal.
League sources maintain the Wolves will hold out for at least one first-round pick as part of a package for Butler, and will also want some young vets who can grow with Towns, Wiggins and Jeff Teague, whom Thibodeau pushed hard for last summer to take over for Ricky Rubio at the point, going forward. And Miami, rumored on Sunday to be making a push for Butler, can trade its 2019 first-round pick after officially moving its 2018 first to Phoenix as part of the Goran Dragic trade. (The Heat would not violate the Stepien Rule prohibiting the trade of successive first-round picks in Drafts by trading its 2019 first.) Pat Riley is always in acquisition mode, and would certainly be willing to gamble if he could convince Butler to be the next great franchise player on South Beach within a year.
Greg Logan: It's late. I shouldn't have waited this long. But my info from credible #NBAsource is that @BrooklynNets are not negotiating with #Timberwolves at the moment.
Wolves president and coach Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden have been resistant to the idea of trading Butler while owner Glen Taylor has told them to bring deals to him to review, league sources said. Whether that is a negotiating strategy or just a flat-out disagreement about one of the team’s two most important players, the mixed messages has created a volatile environment around the franchise.
Nets Daily: Nets NOT negotiating with Timberwolves, reports @GregLogan1. If Timberwolves plan on making a deal by Tuesday, they could engage with Nets but doesn’t sound like this is a Nets priority.
Greg Logan: So he said, but @BrooklynNets not talking yet. Have to believe it would be tough for #Nets to give up assets & sign Butler to 5-year deal worth $190 million. He's good, but is he THAT good? If think you can get #KyrieIrving with him, that's different deal. Irving is THAT GOOD.
Butler is said to have a list of three teams he sees as long-term options. The Clippers and Knicks are among them. But the Wolves, following the lead of the Spurs with Kawhi Leonard and the Pacers with Paul George, intend to make Butler available to any team, no matter whether it appears on his preferred-team list.
According to multiple league sources, coach Tom Thibodeau has no intention of letting Butler go for young, rebuilding-type pieces. Thibodeau, hotly pursued as a coaching free agent after leaving Chicago in 2015, went to Minnesota because he thought the team would be ready to contend quickly.
An NBA source familiar with the situation Sunday told the Sun Sentinel that he would expect the Heat to be particularly aggressive in light of the state of the team's current roster and the franchise's long-term outlook. "It makes too much sense for them not to," he said. "But do they have enough?"
Tim Bontemps: In talking with people, there are a lot of names being bandied about in different combinations to make a possible Butler deal to Miami happen. Heat have always been a team unafraid to take a swing for a star. Trying to do so again.
Just days before Tuesday’s start of training camp, the Miami Heat find itself in the middle of trade speculation. The Heat was aggressively pursuing a a trade for disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler on Sunday, targeting a player who has long been a favorite of the organization, according to several league sources.
The Heat has told teams this offseason that Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters are available, according to two opposing front office executives who have spoken to the Heat. But the Heat knows a different combination of more attractive players will be needed to pry away Butler, who averaged 22.2 points per game for Minnesota last season.
The Heat has been very reluctant this offseason to part with Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo, and it’s unclear if Miami would be willing to include Richardson in a deal for Butler. (Miami’s preference would be not to include Richardson.) Miami also prefers to keep Kelly Olynyk. But Justise Winslow could be put in play because of questions about whether the Heat will keep him if he enters restricted free agency next summer.
Tim Bontemps: In talking to people around the league today, Miami has come up as a popular landing spot for Jimmy Butler. Regardless, expectation is Minnesota’s preference is to move him East, if at all possible, to help Wolves’ playoff chances.
Darren Wolfson: Buzz this afternoon is that the #Twolves have told at least one interested team that they can get a good player back. In other words, up your offer. More buzz: Toronto is interested.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Another team pursuing a Jimmy Butler trade with Minnesota: Cleveland. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was seen talking privately with Glen Taylor at NBA Board of Governors meeting on Friday. Both owners played a part in negotiating the Love-Wiggins deal.
Jon Johnson: Per NBA source, the Sixers have put in a call about Jimmy Butler. Nothing more than an inquiry at the moment.
Jeff Zillgitt: Hearing that Jimmy Butler's interest in Knicks was overstated. His main goal is to win sooner rather than later.
Jeff Zilgitt: My understanding is that there are other teams beyond those original three that Butler wants to play and perhaps sign a long-term deal with. @Adrian Wojnarowski's latest has some of those teams. I'd add Washington and Milwaukee as outliers.
Darren Wolfson: One team two rival execs say not to sleep on in the Butler sweepstakes: Milwaukee. Marquette ties, new arena, can win in the East. Rival teams also expect today to be very busy after trade overtures yesterday were rejected. Taylor determined to find a workable trade. #Twolves
Against the displeasure of Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau, owner Glen Taylor has mandated that a deal needs to be negotiated to trade disgruntled All-Star forward Jimmy Butler in the next several days, league sources told ESPN. Butler has likely worn the Timberwolves uniform for the final time, because Taylor has no interest in bringing Butler into the team's training camp and threatening a bigger circus than already exists within the franchise.
Thibodeau has been willing to coach the Timberwolves through the dysfunction that has surrounded his star players, but Taylor has sided with Butler and agreed that the four-time All-Star should be away from the Wolves for the foreseeable future, sources said.
Now Towns will have to follow his bold words with bold action. With his contract out of the way, the Timberwolves have shifted their focus, a source said, to finding a trade partner for Butler, who has been agitating to get out throughout the summer. The expectation from Taylor is that a deal will be done so the Timberwolves can avoid bringing Butler to training camp, which begins on Tuesday.
So far, few franchises, if any, are engaged in serious conversations with the Timberwolves on Butler, sources said. The list of organizations interested in talking further with Minnesota is significant, league sources said: Brooklyn, Detroit, Houston, the LA Clippers, Miami and Philadelphia are among the teams interested in probing for deals.
They wanted direction on how to proceed with Butler, and Taylor told them: Butler is available in trade talks, and I want it done sooner than later, sources said. "The owner's trading him," one Board of Governors source told ESPN. "That was made clear. It's just a matter of when." "He basically said, 'If you don't get anywhere with [Layden], and you've got something good, bring it to me," another high-ranking league official told ESPN.
In any circumstance, Butler wants a trade to a team that plans to sign him to a five-year, maximum contract that could be worth $190 million in the summer, and his list could expand based upon the Timberwolves' and rival teams' willingness to negotiate a trade for him, league sources said.
The Knicks have maintained both publicly and privately that they will remain patient in their pursuit of stars — a change from experience — and will not trade first round picks. The Nets seem unlikely to move on from any picks, as well, after they finally emerged from the hole they created by trading the rights to five straight first round picks earlier this decade.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Minnesota owner Glen Taylor has made it clear to President/Coach Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden that Jimmy Butler's on the trade block and Taylor wants the front office moving to find a deal. Taylor is pushing for a fast resolution.
Shams Charania: Minnesota is aligning its organizational focus on next step of trading All-Star Jimmy Butler, league sources tell me and @ Jon Krawczynski.
September 16, 2021 | 8:36 pm EDT Update
Keith Smith: The Shanghai Sharks have signed former NBAers Jimmer Fredette and Noah Vonleh. This will be Fredette’s 5th season with Shanghai. He last played in the NBA in 2019 with the Phoenix Suns. Vonleh was briefly with the Brooklyn Nets last season. This is his first season with Shanghai.
NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo was in Greece for a meeting with the country’s prime minister Thursday and a special ceremony to bestow Greek citizenship on his mother Veronica and younger brother Alex. Antetokounmpo, who led the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA championship in July, attended the ceremony at the official residence of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The 26-year-old Antetokounmpo was born in Athens, the son of Nigerian immigrants. He was granted Greek citizenship in 2013, allowing him to travel to the United States and join the Bucks later that year.
“We always felt Greek, but now we have an official stamp and we are happy,” Antetokounmpo told reporters after the ceremony. “Alex and my mom are Greek citizens now.” Antetokounmpo also traveled to Greece in August with his brother Thanassis, carrying the Larry O’Brien NBA championship trophy. He took the trophy to the ancient Acropolis in Athens to celebrate with members of his family.
September 16, 2021 | 8:07 pm EDT Update
Keith Smith: Cleaning up some loose ends on TPEs for the Boston Celtics… The Celtics used the Daniel Theis $5M TPE to acquire Kris Dunn in the three-team deal with the Hawks and Kings. That leaves Boston with five current TPEs. Those TPEs and expiration dates are in the next tweet. 1/2
Keith Smith: Current Boston Celtics TPEs: $17,142,857- Evan Fournier – expires 7/18/22 $9,720,900- Tristan Thompson – expires 7/7/22 $5,096,479- Kemba Walker – expires 5/17/22 $500,000- Moses Brown – expires 6/27/22 $370,564- Jeff Teague – expires 2/11/22 Reminder: TPEs cannot be combined together! 2/2
McGee signed a one-year deal for a reported $5 million with the Suns after winning Olympic gold with Devin Booker in Tokyo. With Dario Saric recovering from a knee injury suffered in the NBA Finals, McGee will play a key role as a backup five to Deandre Ayton. “I feel like my game definitely helps Deandre Ayton in a major way just for the veteran leadership alone,” said McGee, 33, a three-time NBA champion who enters his 14th NBA season averaging 7.8 points on 57.1% shooting, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks for his career. “Also when he gets into foul trouble and having that veteran big to come in that’s 7 foot, block shots, defend, rebound and does all the intangibles that a real big man does,” McGee continued.
“Every big man that has ever played with Chris Paul has done well,” McGee said. “I just feel like Chris Paul is definitely the head of the snake and he’s definitely going to lead us to the finals again.”