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.”
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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.
In search of second-round picks, the Knicks will explore trading Burke at the Feb. 7 deadline, and he said he’s fine whether he stays or goes. This latest showcase for Burke, a free agent, is bound to turn NBA heads.
That microscope doesn’t just come from the media, but also opposing front offices. An opposing team has already called to ask if this latest blowup means Butler might be on the market, according to league sources. This, as rumors swirl around NBA circles that the Sixers, spooked that Butler will bolt when he becomes a free agent this summer, are contemplating dealing Butler before the trade deadline. The team has never considered dealing Butler, according to league sources. But it’s worth noting that the vultures around the NBA, often willing and eager to sow discord, have emerged.
Tim Bontemps: Jimmy Butler says he found out about the trade in a series of text messages from friends before hearing from “two people” – presumably Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden.
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.'”
Thibodeau disputed the idea that he is attempting to construct a win-now roster that would help ensure his own job security, and highlighted the significance of the draft pick. “Not really. It was what was best for the organization,” Thibodeau said. “Obviously getting good players was a priority. The pick part was important. We felt we got a good pick from Philly.”
John Meyer: It’s a quiet arena tonight in Minneapolis and the angry fans are taking advantage. “You suck Thibodeau” and “Fire Thibs,” have been heard loud and clear. More pre-game boos for Thibs as well.
Tolliver also said the trade was needed for the team to move forward. “From a moving-on standpoint, it’s definitely a good thing,” Tolliver said of the deal. “Guys can just get the cloud from over our heads and just go out and play basketball.”
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.
The Nets view LeVert and Allen as core pieces long-term. Instead of using them as trade bait, the Nets kicked the tires briefly on talks involving D’Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and a salary filler for Butler that never got any traction, league sources told The Athletic.
Derek Bodner: #sixers general manager Elton Brand on the acquisition of Jimmy Butler. pic.twitter.com/B5Tt2Do6IN
Brian Seltzer: Statements from HBSE Managing Partner Josh Harris, Co-Managing Partner David Blitzer. pic.twitter.com/5QnzqNxHUx
Jessica Camerato: It’s official … pic.twitter.com/LyDxnEz1BV
They are not teammates anymore. Both Covington and Saric are bound for Minnesota, the headliners in a package that netted the Sixers an elusive third star-level talent in Jimmy Butler. “I think someone was searching on Twitter,” McConnell said. “I don’t have it on my phone, so I wasn’t looking at it. I didn’t think it was true until more reports started coming out. Kind of that feeling in your stomach of just like, you can’t really explain it.”
“I miss Dario and Cov,” Embiid said. “They gave us a lot the past couple of years. I feel like we were starting to play really well together and figure that out to play with each other. But it’s business, got to move on. Love those guys, wish them luck, miss them, I love them.”
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.
Serena Winters: Ben Simmons says he “can’t wait” for Jimmy Butler to get here. “He’s going to fit in with us.” #sixers
Serena Winters: Ben Simmons said he even talked with Jimmy Butler today for a little bit and he said he just wants to win. “That’s the mindset we all have here, so we’re exited to get Jimmy here.”
Serena Winters: “Between me, Jo & Jimmy, we all have that similar mindset of, we hate losing, that pisses us off and we want to win.” #sixers – Ben Simmons on Jimmy Butler
Omari Sanfoka II: Brett Brown declines on speaking on the trade for Jimmy Butler. Doesn’t know who’ll start in place of Robert Covington and Dario Saric. Wilson Chandler is out. pic.twitter.com/CSA2zY0784
Once the Wolves finally came to the conclusion that a deal had to be made, owner Glen Taylor spoke personally with Sixers owner Josh Harris to push it through, sources said. The Wolves were in a difficult position from a bargaining perspective given all of the negativity, and losing, that had enveloped the franchise. The Wolves were eyeing three offers from different teams, but made the decision on Saturday to go forward with Philly’s package, sources said.
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.
The Sixers and Butler, a four-time All-Star, have every intention of formalizing a long-term agreement this summer, sources said, but nothing is allowed to be negotiated or agreed upon until Butler opts out of the final year of his contract after the season. The Sixers will weigh Butler’s physical condition and how he fits with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but they didn’t give up such significant assets believing that this would be a rental situation.
Alex Kennedy: Caron Butler (@Caron Butler) on 76ers-Wolves trade: “I like what Philadelphia did, acquiring Jimmy Butler. They need another shooter besides JJ Redick. They just need 1 more spacer. They have playmaking, which is key. They have a realistic chance to come out of the East though.”
Alex Kennedy: An Eastern Conference player texted me about PHI-MIN deal, saying he’s shocked Philly included Robert Covington: “Wow, the 76ers gave up a lot. I love Robert Covington. I’ve always been a fan of his game. He was a really big piece for them. He’s an exceptional role player.”
The Sixers have agreed to trade forwards Dario Saric and Robert Covington as part of a package to acquire All-Star forward Jimmy Butler on Saturday, a team source confirmed to PhillyVoice. … The 2022 second-round pick [headed to the Timberwolves] will be whichever is the better pick between Philadelphia’s and Denver’s. The Sixers picked up the option to swap seconds with Denver in their trade for Wilson Chandler this past summer.
Including the $30.7M Jimmy Butler free agent hold, Philadelphia will have roughly $21M in cap space for 2019-20. The room includes renouncing all free agents except for Butler and TJ McConnell. The 76ers would be close to adding another max slot if they find a home for former first overall pick Markelle Fultz.
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?”
For Timberwolves and president/coach Tom Thibodeau, accepting two players unlikely to crack his rotation and four draft picks with uncertain conditions was a non-starter, sources said. Around the NBA, there’s belief that the Heat and Philadelphia 76ers could re-emerge in the Butler discussions.
Afterward, Butler, who scored 20 points, batted away any questions about whether he could see himself living in Los Angeles on a full-time basis — perhaps sooner than later. “No, I’m in Minnesota for the time being,” Butler said. “I’ll enjoy the sunshine for a couple days, and then if we go back there, we go back there.”
“I just hoop,” Butler said. “I play basketball. I go out there, and I try to win home or away. I think that’s my job. I’m not worried about nothing — none of that. You [reporters] continue to ask those questions, but it’s not going to change how I go about the game. It’s not going to change how I interact with guys in this locker room. We’ll be just fine.”
Chris Haynes: Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler is expected to be available tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
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?”
Jimmy Butler, continued: “I’m going to be the same guy at the end of the day. That’s the crazy part. Nobody knows what’s going on. You can only guess. You can’t only go by what somebody says. But until you’re in here and you notice what’s going on, you have no clue. I’m not worried about nobody, man. My guys are my guys.”
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.”
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.”
“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.
“I know it’s true,” Butler said when the reporter acknowledged the trade demand factored into concern over his injury status. “So stop asking me questions about if I’m going to sit out or not. If I’m going to sit out, you probably won’t talk to me on the day I sit out; but if I do, then I do and you can create a story around it with a lot of made-up stuff like ya’ll normally do.”
A third of the teams in the league have made overtures for Butler, a league source told Yahoo Sports, but the Timberwolves haven’t taken anyone seriously by setting a high price.
Butler and his representative continue to express frustration in what they believe is Minnesota’s inaction in honoring Butler’s trade request, and they have been pushing owner Glen Taylor to speed up the process, sources said.
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.
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.
As the Minnesota Timberwolves remain stagnant in trade talks, All-Star forward Jimmy Butler has expressed an intention to join the team on its trip to Golden State for Friday night’s game, league sources told ESPN. Butler will miss Wednesday’s home game against Utah for what the team is calling “general soreness and precautionary rest.”
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February 17, 2019 | 9:04 pm EST Update
Jeff Zillgitt: If you care about such NBA All-Star things, Kevin Durant has passed Julius Erving & Bob Pettit for sixth on the all-time All-Star scoring list. Has a chance to pass Oscar Robertson for fifth place. LeBron James 343, Kobe Bryant 290, Michael Jordan 262, Oscar Robertson 246, KD 228