As word of Jimmy Butler’s expletive-laden return to Timberwolves practice this week started to spread, those steeped in this franchise’s basketball lore found it eerily similar to the days when Kevin Garnett prowled Target Center with a foul-mouthed fury and a never-ending lather. Watching it unfold from afar, the original alpha wolf recognized some similarities in the way Butler went at coach Tom Thibodeau, GM Scott Layden and teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins during a spirited scrimmage on Wednesday. He also sees some noticeable differences. “You don’t think that I went crazy sometimes? Man, I was a damn Tasmanian devil,” Garnett told The Athletic in a phone interview. “I would say shit at (Kevin) McHale. I would say shit at Flip (Saunders). But it was all to motivate all of us. We had a big game against Chicago and I’m just raising the level to what I’m expecting the next day to be like.”
July 31, 2021 | 6:10 pm EDT Update
Jordan Schultz: #Lakers are “very interested” in the prospect of signing Carmelo Anthony, per a league source. Melo has been linked to the Lakers as a possibility, given his friendship w/LeBron dating back to high school. Anthony drilled a career-best 40.9 percent from 3 last season w/Portland.
Will Guillory: The Pelicans have declined the team option on forward Didi Louzada, per league source. The 2019 2nd round pick played 3 games with the Pels last season after spending a couple years in Australia.
Andrew Lopez: Pelicans have declined the team option on Didi Louzada, sources confirm. However, sources say the team also extended a qualifying offer to Louzada with the hope of keeping him long term.
July 31, 2021 | 5:23 pm EDT Update
As it turns out, the Celtics’ trade for Josh Richardson may have been insurance for a free-agent priority that is not working out so well. According to a league source, negotiations between the Celtics and Evan Fournier are close to stalling, with the team unwilling to meet the valuable wing player’s asking price of $80 million over four years.
Though it’s unclear what the Celtics are offering, “it’s not looking good,” said the source. As evidenced by reports that the Knicks and Fournier have developed a mutual interest, the Celtics now face stiff competition.