Josh Harris told us last week that the Sixers want to keep both Tobias Harris and Butler because players of that caliber are difficult to acquire. He’s right. The franchise learned that difficult lesson last offseason when they had oodles of cap space but no high-level free agents to ladle it out to. Retaining Harris and Butler would zoom them deep into the luxury tax for the foreseeable future and handicap how the Sixers can fill out the rest of the roster—especially because Simmons will soon be in line to sign an extension. That would be a lot of money wrapped up in four players. “We get it,” Harris stipulated. “It’s expensive.”
Rival executives will tell you, without hesitation, that Durant is bound for the Knicks; that Irving is likely to join him; that Leonard likes the Clippers; that Butler might choose the Lakers—unless he chooses the Nets.
Brand has said repeatedly that he hopes to keep Philadelphia’s new core four together, but Butler is expected to attract serious interest from both Los Angeles teams as well as the Nets. The Clippers’ special adviser Jerry West, to name one prominent fan, is said to be a longtime admirer of Butler’s two-way impact.
Which two max free agents do the clippers have the best shot at signing this summer? Sam Amick: Kawhi and Jimmy Butler - though I have been told consistently that their interest in Jimmy is slim to none.
"We gave up a lot to get Tobias and Jimmy on our team," Harris told ESPN. "We think they're exceptional talents. We're going to try to keep them. We know we are going to have to pay these guys in an appropriate way. We get it. It's expensive."
Chris Haynes: “We all know that the Clippers have two max slots. They’re going to be aggressive… They have interest in Jimmy Butler. They’re going to go after KD. They’re going to go after Kawhi Leonard. And, this has been said before so I’m not reporting anything new, but I think the Clippers have a really good shot at Kawhi. I really do. Give credit to that front office over there and the way they’ve changed the culture… It depends on how things play out in Toronto. I think they really have to, if not win the championship, [at least] get to the NBA Finals to kind of cure the concern. That’s going to be really interesting. I’m looking forward to how [Leonard’s free agency] is going to play out probably even more so than Kevin Durant.”
As for the rest of the Clippers’ free agent list, it gets murky once you get past those top two. Sources say Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler is not expected to be a top-tier target, and he may not be one at all.
For first-year Sixers general manager Elton Brand, it is the second significant deal of the season -- bringing Harris and Butler into the Sixers lineup. Along with Butler, Harris will be a free agent this summer and the Sixers plan to be aggressive in re-signing him to an extension, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Sixers are budgeting to re-sign and keep a new Big 4, including free agents Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler this summer, league sources tell ESPN. Philadelphia has long-term plans for Harris, Butler, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons together.
Keith Pompey: With #NBA trade deadline 2 days away & @Jimmy Butler’s name constantly being mentioned, I asked his agent, Bernie Lee, about Butler’s thoughts about remaining a #Sixer: “ Jimmy is as committed today as he was the day he got traded here as being a part of a championship team. He looks forward to it being built with him and around him.”
If they can’t add any substantial pieces by Thursday, are the Sixers good enough as currently constituted to overcome those obstacles and reach the Finals? They’d certainly have a shot, but simply having a chance feels inadequate when measured against the “our time is now” declaration. The question of what to do at the trade deadline is tethered to another pressing issue: Butler’s upcoming free agency. People in and around the organization have expressed concern to me that Butler could bolt this offseason.
League sources expect the Clippers and Nets—two teams that run a lot of pick-and-roll—to pursue Butler this summer. Butler is a star who needs to be kept happy about his role in the offense, but that kind of coddling funnels into preparations that the Sixers will have to start making anyway.
Butler, 29, can become a free agent this summer, and the organization's preference has been to re-sign him to an extension. Rival teams believe Butler will eventually decide to take meetings with interested suitors in July. Butler's preference has been to sign a more lucrative deal to remain with the Sixers, but it's clear that there are issues to be worked out before that comfort level fully exists.
Brown, who signed a contract extension in the offseason, remains a popular figure with ownership and management. Around the organization, there's an urgency for Brown and his coaching staff to stabilize the situation, sources said. Ownership has been committed to making the Big 3 of Embiid, Simmons and Butler work, especially with Butler's free agency looming this summer.
Most players’ production declines in their mid-30s. And being on the hook for around $38 million annually for a declining player with an injury history would set a team back. Butler suffered a knee injury last season. “No concern, because of the way he takes care of his body,” Brand said. “But, of course, there’s other things that would have to happen before you discuss those kind of things ... like he has to opt out of his contract. So, I don’t want to talk about that yet.”
Keith Pompey: Jimmy Butler on the #Sixers: “ I could see this being home, yes.” pic.twitter.com/V9YTFO7VYA
If the 76ers have tired of this saga and are considering trading Fultz, and multiple sources said they are, his trade value must have declined a great deal since the start of the season. The team might be able to get a late-first-round pick for Fultz from a desperate club willing to take a chance, or the Sixers could try for a player with an expiring contract. That would enable them to avoid paying the $9.7 million that Fultz is guaranteed for next season. Butler is expected to opt out of the final year of his deal, and the money saved by trading Fultz could allow the Sixers to re-sign Butler and another top free agent.
Jon Johnson: Elton Brand says he hopes "Jimmy(Butler) sees a fit here", and re-signs with Sixers this summer. Can't negotiate with him at moment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Irving said he's aware that he's been linked to Jimmy Butler in persistent free-agent rumors regarding a mutual desire to play together in New York, but he said he's had no such discussions with Butler. In fact, he said, the last time he talked to Butler at length was when they were both playing with USA Basketball, and the two engaged in a spitballing session along with Durant and Cousins about what the future held for each of them. "And that," Irving laughed, "was in 2016."
Anthony Puccio: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson comments on Jimmy Butler’s picture “come on home” pic.twitter.com/DetlxacnyV
Darren Wolfson: As someone with a vested interest texted, "Glen must be beside himself." Definitely curious to eventually hear the owner's thoughts. #Twolves
Adrian Wojnarowski: Minnesota's Jimmy Butler has three preferred destinations for a trade, league sources tell ESPN: The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Those three teams have max cap space to sign Butler as a free agent in July.
Butler and Thibodeau met on Tuesday in Los Angeles to discuss his situation, according to multiple sources. Over the last several weeks, Butler began to seriously contemplate his future with the Timberwolves and a potential trade request, league sources said. It was in that meeting that Butler expressed a desire to be traded, telling Thibodeau that he does not intend to sign a long-term extension with the Wolves next summer. He has provided a list of one to three teams with which he would be open to signing a long-term deal, sources said.
Thibodeau was initially resistant to the idea, according to sources, but Butler is determined to find a new home. The Timberwolves are scheduled to have media day on Monday and their first training camp practice on Tuesday, so the clock is ticking.
Albert Nahmad: Let’s be clear on terminology here. Jimmy Butler’s only EXTENSION options start in 2019-20 and add: (i) 2 years, $46M if within 6 months of trade or (ii) 4 years, $101M after. SIGNING NEW CONTRACT next summer: (i) 5 years, $190M with prior team, or (ii) 4 years, $141M elsewhere.
Shams Charania: Jimmy Butler has requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, league sources tell me and @ Jon Krawczynski. Butler has given Minnesota a list of one-to-three teams with whom he's open to signing extension, in anticipation of trade.
Shams Charania: Less than one week before Timberwolves' training camp begins. After weeks of contemplating future in Minnesota, Butler informed Tom Thibodeau on Tuesday, sources said.
Jon Krawczynski: Tom Thibodeau has been resistant to the idea of trading Butler, we're told. With media day on Monday and training camp set to being on Tuesday, the clock is ticking.
Butler, 29, will be the subject of an intense recruitment in July free agency, which includes the possibility of six maximum contract slots among the four New York and Los Angeles teams. Butler has never been enamored with the idea of a big market, but rather with feeling that's he's surrounded with like-minded players who'll give him a chance for annual postseason success.
All this is leading up to some sort of break-up, with Jimmy Butler likely being the first one to go. Nick Friedell first came out with the story: “Being around that [Timberwolves] team a lot last year, I think Jimmy is probably going to be gone a year from right now”
A month away from training camp’s opening, Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said Monday at the Minnesota State Fair he doesn’t need to assure the team’s nervous fans or his best players that all will be right in a season after which All-Star guard Jimmy Butler can leave as an unrestricted free agent. “The winning will take care of that,” he said.
“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 … The biggest thing is chemistry on the floor and winning. How efficient they are tells you there’s strong chemistry on the floor.”
Outside of Leonard, Cousins and Butler may be the most likely to switch teams. Per a source close to Butler, he's open to the idea of moving on from the Timberwolves to play alongside James in Los Angeles.
As with Irving, our panel sees New York as Butler's most likely destination, though it's difficult to see at this moment how the Knicks would create the cap space for both of them (not to mention the chance Durant chooses New York too). Perhaps most telling about these results though is the fact that 10 possible Butler destinations were listed, in addition to his current team. Butler was also the only player in our Forecast for whom his current team didn't finish first or second in the voting, with only 12 percent of panelists seeing Minnesota as his long-term home. Expect the four-time All-Star to have a new team next summer.
A year out from what could be an enormous 2019 free agency in the NBA, there are rumors about the next potential super-team. Two league sources told Business Insider that there is a buzz about the Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving and the Minnesota Timberwolves' Jimmy Butler teaming up next summer, with one source saying the chatter is "substantial." Both sources also said the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets could be well-positioned to land the two players if they are indeed keen on teaming up.
Darren Wolfson: #Twolves All-Star Jimmy Butler has officially turned down the Wolves' 4-year, $110M range extension offer, per owner Glen Taylor. Full interview posting soon, which includes stuff on KAT extension talks, Thibs, filling out the roster, and #LosLynx.
Boston hasn't included Jaylen Brown, sources say. As I wrote here, it might make more sense to offer Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward before Brown, but I don't see either happening. Boston is confident it can re-sign Irving despite chatter -- credible chatter -- that Irving and Jimmy Butler would like to play together, per league sources. They've earned such confidence.
A league source close to the situation told the Sun-Times on Tuesday that Kyrie Irving and former Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler are still trying to figure out a way to play together.
And while he has seen improvement with his new team, will it be enough to keep him around when he can opt out and become a free agent next season? “Decisions I make, the money, my contract, all of that will handle itself. I don’t ever worry about my money. I already have enough money for the rest of my life. It’s all about winning.’’
Team president Michael Reinsdorf is a huge Butler fan, and the feeling is mutual. Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen and a soon-to-be draft pick might need some tough love. “If the time comes where I say, ‘You know what, I do want to end this thing in a Bulls jersey,’ I think that would be amazing. But it’s all about being wanted and winning.’’
Me: They can take you off the market this summer with a renegotiation and extension. How important is it for that not to be an issue going into 2019? JB: Me? Me: You. JB: Oh, I’m not worried about it. I mean, in the most humble way possible, if they don’t take care of me this summer, I think the summer after that, I’m’a end up playing somewhere. Let’s not worry about that. Look, money’s never the issue for me. If you win, that takes care of everything. That’s what I’m trying to do right now. When that presents itself, we’ll think about it and talk about it.
As the Los Angeles Lakers become more realistic about the franchise's chances of snaring superstars in the free agent class of 2018, the front office is increasingly looking through a longer lens in its team building process, league sources told ESPN. The Lakers aren't abandoning a summer pursuit of stars, but rather recalibrating on the possibility of a 2019 class that could include San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard, Golden State's Klay Thompson and Minnesota's Jimmy Butler, league sources told ESPN.
A question from Twitter: What will get you to sign an extension here with your contract set to expire in 2019? Jimmy Butler: Got to win. We have to win. We’re doing a great job of that now, but if I’m winning, I’m happy. I’m not worried that it’s negative 50 degrees outside. I just want to win. I want to be happy. I want to be around good people. I think we have that right now.
Jimmy Butler has a message for some of his former Bulls teammates who might have a ‘‘so-called dislike’’ for Dwyane Wade. ‘‘Hell, probably some of them can’t stand or don’t like me,’’ Butler told the Sun-Times in a phone interview Thursday. ‘‘That’s fine. I’m still waking up fortunate and blessed every day, just like Dwyane is. He still has a fabulous family and a lot more important things to worry about than the opinions of others. ‘‘But if they dislike him because the guy wants to win, well, then that team has some serious problems on the way.’’
Jimmy Butler has agreed to a five-year, $95 million maximum contract to re-sign with the Chicago Bulls, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Butler's deal will include a player option after the fourth year of the deal, sources told Yahoo.
KC Johnson: Here's more optimism for why Butler verbal agreement could come today: Bulls open to player option. Should be either 3/1 or 4/1 max.
Ideally, Butler is seeking a three-year maximum deal with a player option for a fourth season, sources said. That deal would be worth roughly $51 million.
Eric Pincus: The Chicago Bulls have given Jimmy Butler both a qualifying offer AND a max qualifying offer. If Jimmy Butler signs an offer sheet with another team, it must be for at least 3 years w/o options (can be a 4th w/option) @BBallInsiders
Steve Kyler: Bulls can influence with a maximum qualifying offer. Was told Jimmy might sign Qualifier if Bulls force his hand
A funky, season-ending loss to the Cavaliers in which Rose played a passive second half as Butler shot 12 times has stirred questions about their chemistry now that Butler has joined Rose as a primary scorer. But a league source insisted Butler possibly signing a shorter-term deal in restricted free agency is based on the changing financial landscape coming with the league's new TV deal. "I haven't seen (friction)," said general manager Gar Forman, who has talked to Butler recently. "In all our minds, you've got two guys who can attack, want to run, can play off the dribble and playmake for themselves and others. They haven't had a chance to do it a whole lot because of the injuries. But there's no reason those two shouldn't be able to play at a high level and be one of the best backcourts in the league."
Jimmy Butler’s impending free agency — restricted free agency, it should be said — will be priority No. 1 come July 1, as all the rumors about Butler possibly looking for a shorter contract will be met with intent. “Our goal all along is to have Jimmy here long-term, and we feel real confident in our situation, how well he fits and that Jimmy’s comfortable in Chicago,” Forman said.
Steve Kyler: A couple of follow up comments on @WojYahooNBA's Jimmy Butler story... Most of what's been said recently, is what I have been saying all year -- structure of the deal matters more than length. A number of high profile free agents are likely choosing option laden deals to insure they can dip into new TV deal economy in 2017. I have been told by a few agents they want their guys covered through a possible 2017 NBA Lockout, not much longer than that. Specific to Butler and his camp, they are not overly concerned about long-term security aspect of a new deal. Rather maximize earnings. Something else to note -- more than a couple of the restricted free agents have made it clear they would sign Qualifier if thing go south.
As Butler spends time in Los Angeles this summer, a stretch that’s included an overseas “Entourage” promotional jaunt with producer Mark Wahlberg, Butler’s intrigue with signing a potential Los Angeles Lakers offer sheet has increased, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Butler has preliminary plans to pursue meetings with several teams once free agency starts in July, sources said. Several teams pursuing Butler told Yahoo Sports that they’re under the impression a short-term, max money offer sheet is the wisest way to approach Butler this summer.
August 10, 2022 | 4:20 am EDT Update
Furthermore, the first-year head coach said one wrinkle he will implement and stick with is having the offense run through Anthony Davis, and James concurred, sources said. The team has been encouraged with Davis’ offseason progression and believe he’ll be in optimum shape to avoid serious injuries and carry a heavier load.
James is finalizing a destination to host the team’s annual minicamp prior to training camp, with San Diego being the likely landing space over Las Vegas, sources said. He’s hoping to build a better rapport with teammates before entering the 2022-23 season. The meeting was deemed productive and informative. Pelinka made his feelings clear that he wants James to retire as a Laker and promised to provide him with every resource possible to compete for a championship each year he’s with the organization, sources said.
And while contract dialogue was broached, the majority of the hour-long meeting was about expressing concerns, and hearing out strategies and opinions to assure there wouldn’t be a repeat of last season’s epic failure, league sources told Yahoo Sports. James, sources said, drilled home the importance of consistent competitiveness and cohesion, noting that last season’s team didn’t give themselves a chance on many nights. The focus for the future Hall of Famer is competing every night in order to give themselves a chance to compete for a championship.
As for roster tinkering, Pelinka explained patience will be key in any potential moves the team makes, sources said. In a collaborative effort, all parties appear to be aligned on a common vision of seeing how the roster plays out before any drastic moves are sought.
Do you get the sense that the Lakers are trying to make two separate trades using the firsts? One with Westbrook and one with Horton-Tucker/Nunn/etc.? — @crownroyalpapi_ Jovan Buha: Yes, insofar as I think the ultimate price to trade Westbrook will include attaching two first-round picks. If the Lakers can finagle an alternate outcome — be it a pick swap or two second-round picks — that’s a win for them, in my opinion. That seems unlikely, though, which is why there’s a possibility Westbrook isn’t traded. Between the two trades mentioned, the Lakers would prefer the Irving option. I think that’s a deal they’d eventually be willing to include two first-round picks for. I don’t think they’d be willing to do so in the Indiana deal.
Nets star Kyrie Irving wants to make it clear he does not hate coach Steve Nash or general manager Sean Marks despite what a source told The Post about his feelings Monday. “I am not sure where this narrative is coming from but Kyrie does not hate Steve nor Sean. That’s not a part of his being nor how he represents himself in the world. He’s about peace, love and acceptance,” his agent and stepmother Shetallia Riley Irving told The Post.
Durant, among other things, was not consulted on the Nets’ firing of assistant coach and director of player development Adam Harrington when the season ended, the source believes. “There are simple things that erode a relationship. You fired someone he was close to and didn’t have a conversation about it,” the source said.