Storyline: Jimmy Butler Trade?

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1 month ago via ESPN

In his first comments since trading Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves coach and president Tom Thibodeau was surgical in describing the deal that sent the All-Star guard to Philadelphia. “I said from the beginning, you always have to put the organization first,” Thibodeau said. “So you set the parameters for what you are looking for and once we felt we got to that point where the offers met some of the things we were looking for, then we said, ‘OK, now it’s time.'”

Butler decided he would play on Friday night, but he viewed it as the fork in the road. If the Timberwolves didn’t find a deal to fulfill his long-simmering trade request after that, he would begin to sit indefinitely, league sources told The Athletic. The Kings defeated Minnesota 121-110 to push the Timberwolves to 4-9 and a winless road trip; Butler had 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 41 minutes. He had played almost 124 minutes in the last three games, all losses, and at halftime of the final one, the Wolves were informed that this was it for Butler, sources said.

After Butler plays 39 minutes in a loss to the Clippers that dropped the Wolves to 0-3 on the trip, the Wolves have conversations with the Heat about a possible trade. But the Heat inform the Wolves that Richardson is no longer on the table after his stellar start to the season, and the Wolves move on. Minnesota begins to engage seriously with Philadelphia, New Orleans and Houston. New Orleans’ package is headlined by Nikola Mirotic and an unprotected first-round draft pick and the Rockets’ proposal has Eric Gordon, Nene and two first-round picks, sources said. The 76ers come with their proposal around Robert Covington and Dario Saric, leaving the Timberwolves to deliberate.

It​ was​ nearly​ midnight​ inside the Citizen Hotel in downtown​ Sacramento on​ Friday,​ and Minnesota Timberwolves​ general​ manager​​ Scott Layden was the only one in the crowded room still working. … It was time to put the Jimmy Butler saga out to pasture. I had no clue at the time that the Timberwolves had reached their breaking point. Layden was clearly focused on his conversation, and so I waved from a distance and offered a thumbs up as a way of saying hello in the most placid way possible. To my surprise, Layden — who had spent these past two months giving thumbs downs to every trade offer that came their way — offered a thumbs up in return. Little did I know: The T-Wolves were finally going to say yes.

According to a league source, the talks with Philadelphia were rekindled on Wednesday. The Sixers, who had announced Elton Brand as their new general manager on the same Sept. 18 day that Butler’s trade demand went public, put forth a take-it-or-leave-it style offer and waited for an answer. According to our Jon Krawczynski, Minnesota was deliberating between three offers. Houston was known to be among the most aggressive suitors, but sources say the Rockets would ultimately be convinced that Minnesota had been hell-bent on sending Butler to the Eastern Conference all along. It’s unclear if Miami was still in play or if there was another team involved at the end.

Shortly after that meeting, Butler had a conversation with Taylor to get the ball rolling on an exit strategy. Taylor was more open to the idea than Thibodeau was initially and promised to pursue all avenues to grant his request, sources said. The owner told Thibodeau and Layden on Sept. 22 to be proactive in seeking out possibilities to bring to his desk, but what followed was a mind-numbing process filled with mixed messages. Thibodeau and Layden took hard-line stances in negotiations, according to team sources who entered into the talks. Several owners reached out to Taylor directly, and while those conversations felt more productive, Taylor resisted calls to make a unilateral move.

Jimmy Butler: I mean, all and all, I don’t think about (the trade request situation). I don’t worry about it. I do the same thing every day. I hang around the same people every day. I read my books. I read my Bible. I listen to my country music. I throw in a little bit of hip-hop, man, but this shit does not change. I do what I do every single day. I’m in the gym in the night. I’m in there in the morning. I’m not worried about basketball. Basketball is going to come around. We’re going to figure this thing out. I don’t think about the outside noise, what’s really going on. I mean, whenever that time comes, that time comes.

You sound like a guy who plans on being here for a while, as far as this season goes, and plans on trying to turn this thing around. Is there part of you that has maybe given up the idea that they’re going to actually move you? Jimmy Butler: Like I said, I don’t focus on it. I really don’t. If it happens, if something happens, something happens. If it don’t, I’ve still got to go out there and prove that I can hang with the best of them. That’s what I do every time I take the floor. I dap somebody up, and it’s like, ‘Yo, let’s battle tonight.’

It’s possible no one comes. Leonard could stay in Toronto. Butler, who is trying to force his way out of Minnesota by the February trade deadline, could re-sign with whichever team acquires him. Durant could choose New York or Brooklyn. And yet one rival executive calls the Clippers “the most attractive free-agent situation of all of them, because none of the available free agents want to be LeBron’s caddy. And they can become the greatest player in the history of a franchise in an unbelievable market with the wealthiest owner in the league. Why would that not thrill you?”

In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Sports, Butler was adamant that he wasn’t putting on an act and stressed that he genuinely enjoys being around his teammates even though he wants to be traded. “These are my guys,” the four-time All-Star told Yahoo Sports after scoring 21 points and dishing out five assists. “Look, [my situation] don’t got [expletive] to do with me and everybody in this [expletive] locker room. I love these [expletive]. I’m going to keep it one hundred with you. I love these guys. So, when everybody says, ‘Oh, there’s going to be a problem in the locker room.’ Yeah, all right. Does it look like there’s a problem in the locker room?”

It’s been over six weeks since Butler first requested a trade, and there have been multiple developments during that span that could lead one to question whether Butler is being a negative influence on the Timberwolves’ young core of Karl-Anthony Towns (22) and Wiggins (23). But the four-time All-Star disputes that perception. “I don’t give a [expletive] [what people think],” Butler told Yahoo Sports. “I don’t. I swear to you. Because I know where I’m at with my guys. I know how I am as a person. They can write whatever they want, they can say whatever they want and I can address it the way that I want to. But at the end of the day, I go to war with my guys. Those are my guys. We’re out there trying to win. Nothing is going to come between us. I’m going to play the right way, do what I do, and they know that. They know that.”
1 month ago via ESPN

Butler, who has asked for a trade from the Timberwolves, sat out Wednesday’s game because of general soreness and made it clear that he might decide to sit out one of the team’s next two games, as well. The Timberwolves play at the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night and at the LA Clippers on Monday night. “I let them know,” Butler said after Friday’s 116-99 loss to the Golden State Warriors. “They don’t know how my body feels. So if I’m nicked up, then you can count on that. I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t know what we plan on doing tomorrow. Obviously, I got to get some treatment along with a lot of other guys. But we’ll see whenever Sunday and Monday gets here.”
1 month ago via ESPN

“I’m not worried about no deal,” Butler said. “Injury or not, I got to take care of myself. I realize they have a job to do as an organization; I have one to do as a player. But if I’m not in the right with my body to go out there and do it, I don’t want to get hurt. I’ve been hurt almost every year now, so we’re going to take things with caution.” Butler said he would “see how his body feels” before making a decision, but he did not reveal what particular injury he might be dealing with. “If all of this talk wasn’t going on and I sat out because my body was sore, you would not be asking me things like that,” Butler said.

Rachel Nichols: Spoke to Jimmy Butler, who told me he plans to sit out of tonight’s Wolves game “because my body is hurting” after he missed nearly all of training camp. He said he doesn’t want to see any soreness escalate into injury as he continues to seek resolution to his situation with Minnesota. He strongly pushed back on any idea he is sitting out tonight as a protest and confirmed Adrian Wojnarowski’s report that plans to fly with the team to Oakland and play against Golden State. He said he plans to be in the arena for tonight’s game as well.

Jace Frederick: Got a couple comments from Jimmy Butler’s agent, Bernie Lee, on this morning’s developments. First, I asked if Butler sitting out today is part of a push to get out of Minnesota: “I can only speak to the 1st part of your question as I am unaware what you are referring to with the 2nd part. Jimmy is sitting tonight as part of a mutually agreed upon protocol of scheduled rest when appropriate. So Jimmy’s job today is to get as much rest as he possibly can, his job on Monday was to do everything he possibly could to help Minnesota win a game. Youve been around Jimmy for over a year now correct me if I am wrong but I would think you’ve picked up by now that he is a extremely focused person and one thing that can never and will never be questioned about him is his commitment to doing his job”

Jace Frederick: Also asked Jimmy Butler’s agent, Bernie Lee, if — If Butler is still on the roster — will Jimmy play on the road trip? “Again, I am unsure what you are referring to big picture wise but Jimmy’s approach this year has been to approach every day as a singular event and deal with what is appropriate within that day and I think his actions has displayed that. Presently there are no long term plans to deviate from this plan in any way. We continue to communicate with the organization daily, and Jimmy has been very clear in the commitments he has made to the organization and Mr Taylor and he has lived up to them and they have been very clear in return to him, we remain committed to the same things in the very same ways.”

Jimmy​ Butler is​ not​ playing in​ the Timberwolves’ game​ on Wednesday​ night​ against Utah, the latest​ step in a six-week​​ standoff between the disgruntled All-Star and the team that has not yet granted his wish to be traded, league sources told The Athletic. Butler showed up to the team’s shootaround on Wednesday morning, but did not participate, sources said. After the session was over, he had a brief conversation with coach and president Tom Thibodeau about his decision and declined interview requests.

Shams Charania: Jimmy Butler is taking next step in six-week-long process aimed at getting the All-Star out of Minnesota by sitting tonight against Utah, and could lead to extended absence for Butler, league sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Butler started contemplating not playing tonight on Tuesday, and the final decision was made Wednesday morning, sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Timberwolves termed it “general soreness and precautionary rest,” but Butler informed Tom Thibodeau of his decision.

I’m not hugely surprised that the Wolves resisted Houston’s trade offer last week of four future first-round picks for Butler, along with the contracts of Brandon Knight and Marquess Chriss. The stated reason was that the Rockets’ latest proposal features zero players who can help Minnesota immediately, but the biggest factor was presumably this: Minnesota’s owner, Glen Taylor, and Coach Tom Thibodeau are in strong agreement about not wanting to surrender Butler to the Rockets and set them up with a third elite player alongside James Harden and Chris Paul.

Zach Lowe: “Is there anything cooking [on the Jimmy Butler front]? Are we ever gonna see the end of this saga?” Adrian Wojnarowski: “With Minnesota, some teams believe they are really sincere in trying to get a deal done, and some feel like it’s a little bit of a shell game at times. I think that the [worse they play]… that’s probably going to speed up a conclusion to this. … I don’t think that this is gonna last until – I would be shocked if [Butler] was there on Thanksgiving. It just feels like this is gonna be sooner.”
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December 16, 2018 | 8:01 am EST Update

Lakers keeping young core to pursue Anthony Davis?

Which is why, when reports that the Lakers would not include any of their young core in a trade for Trevor Ariza came out, it fit with the Lakers’ long-term thinking. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN discussed this on a special trade season preview broadcast Saturday morning (transcription via Real GM). “Here’s the line [the Lakers] have to walk: they’re not going to give away picks and their top young players in some deal that makes them incrementally better this season because they have to save all those assets for Anthony Davis, a big trade this summer either pre or post free agency… “The absolute dream scenario, people talk about (how) they can trade for Anthony Davis or sign a free agent. The dream scenario is they do both.”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 8 more rumors
A day after a three-team trade with the Grizzlies, Suns and Wizards fell through when the Suns thought they were getting Memphis forward Dillon Brooks when they had been offered MarShon Brooks, a clearly agitated Memphis general manager Chris Wallace said he never discussed dealing Dillon Brooks, blaming one or both of the other teams for the mess left behind. “I don’t carry grudges,” Wallace said, “but I’m not happy about what happened. “We were very clear about who was in the trade. Contrary to reports, it was not Dillon Brooks, which put us in a very difficult situation with our players. Individuals from one or both of those teams leaked the deal, while we were playing last night. That forced me to do something I’ve never done in 30-plus years working in this league for seven teams, which was to drag two players out of the locker room and tell them they have been traded and eventually have to come back in and tell them, ‘no you haven’t been traded.'”
Friday night’s three-team trade that never happened still was buzzing before the game. The Grizzlies’ MarShon Brooks and Wayne Selden were believed to be headed to Phoenix after the trade talks surfaced Friday night. Instead, confusion over whether the Grizzlies were including MarShon or Dillon Brooks killed the Memphis part of the deal, leading to a lot of talk on Saturday. Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he apologized to the players. MarShon Brooks still expressed his confusion over the circumstances. His mother learned of the trade near the end of Friday’s night’s game with Miami, even trying to tell him of the report from her seat in the stands. “It’s a little awkward, you know. I’m a human,” Brooks said. “I’ve got feelings. I’m not just numb to the situation. “I don’t know how it happened. I guess (the general managers) were in a group text or something.”
After the Orlando Magic completed a two-game sweep of the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz in Mexico, shooting guard Evan Fournier poked fun at doing so despite little encouragement from the local crowds. “Yeah, we felt more support tonight,” Fournier said after Saturday’s 96-89 win over the Jazz at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico. “But I did get booed at the line at the end of the game. I think fans just wanted a close game,” he added, smiling.
32 mins ago via ESPN
Lonzo’s first career triple-double, which came when he was 20 years and 15 days old, actually eclipsed LeBron’s previous record of 20 years and 20 days … at least until Markelle Fultz did it later last season when he was 19 years and 317 days old. “They play basketball and they know how to make the right decisions,” said Luke Walton. “So I thought they were both very aggressive on both ends of the floor making sure we didn’t lose two in a row. It’s something that we talk about as a team and they are both such brilliant playmakers that when they are aggressive and they can get in the lane it puts a lot of pressure on another team’s defense and with LeBron we are used to him doing that.”
“We’re one and the same when it comes to our playmaking ability,” James said. “We’re always looking for our teammates and that’s the greatest satisfaction we can have when we see our teammates score the ball. We’ve always been pretty good rebounders for our position, him at the guard spot, me at the forward spot. And then being able to put the ball in the hole as well. We just try to be aggressive, attack the rim, make shots from the outside when guys disrespect us and we showed all of that tonight.”