It remains to be seen to a certain extent, but Caron Butler appears to be the one player made available during the NBA’s unofficial buyout season that has a true chance of impacting his new team’s playoff chances.
That team is the Oklahoma City Thunder, who apparently had more to offer in their sales pitch than did the Miami Heat.
Speaking at a charity event on Sunday afternoon, Heat executive Pat Riley explained that he was indeed interested in retaining Butler’s services. He just couldn’t promise an impactful role with the team, based on the depth already in place on the roster.
From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (via Basketball Insiders):
“I think when you look at our roster, and I think in our conversations with them, they wanted a meaningful role, and I don’t blame them,” Riley said. “And we’re pretty deep. When you’ve got James Jones and Udonis Haslem and Rashard Lewis in those positions, they’re waiting, and Mike [Beasley] and Greg [Oden] are getting minutes from [roster spots] nine and 10. They were looking for something else.
“We love Caron. We reached out to him. But he was very definitive with what he wanted and I don’t think it’s something we could have promised.”
Interestingly enough, Thunder GM Sam Presti similarly said that nothing was promised, and especially made it clear that there were no minutes guaranteed during the recruiting process.
It’s worth noting that Butler was a member of the 2011 NBA champion Mavericks, but didn’t play at all in the postseason due to injury. He didn’t need to ride the pine in Miami for another hollow title, and perhaps the theoretical availability of a meaningful bench role with the Thunder will ultimately prove to be the best choice.
Derek Fisher is already stumping for his second head-coaching job.
Fisher has done plenty since retiring as a player — getting hired by the Knicks, getting fired by the Knicks and in between being attacked by Matt Barnes and finding another controversy about player relations.
All the while, Fisher counted against the cap for the Thunder, his last NBA team.
Oklahoma City finally renounced him to sign Alex Abrines.
Albert Nahmad of Heat Hoops:
This is one of my favorite salary-cap quirks, explained in further detail here.
These are becoming fewer and further between, because teams are using cap room more frequently as the salary cap skyrockets. Gone are the days of a team operating above the cap for a dozen straight years.
There’s also even less utility in old cap holds now that a player must have played the prior season for a team to be used in a sign-and-trade. (Not that these holds were useful except the rarest of occasions prior, anyway.)
Fisher’s quick transition from playing to coaching helped make this an exception, allowing this weird (and trivial) transaction.
Where will the NBA hold the 2017 All-Star game?
New Orleans? Probably.
New York/Brooklyn or Chicago? Maybe.
One more maybe: Las Vegas.
Scott Kusher of The Advocate:
The NBA held All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas in 2007. By all accounts, it was wild.
I’d be surprised if the league returned the event to Las Vegas, but at this point, I’d really be surprised by any option besides New Orleans.
The 76ers hired Bryan Colangelo, and Sam Hinkie bounced.
Now, much of Hinkie’s front-office is also heading out the door.
Zach Lowe of ESPN:
that regime — including deposed GM Sam Hinkie’s handpicked analytics crew — will be mostly gone by the end of August, league sources say.
If Colangelo hires his own analytics staff and integrates numbers into his decision-making, this is no big deal.
If Colangelo leaves those positions vacant, Philadelphia will be working from behind.
I’m betting on the former. He isn’t Hinkie, but Colangelo has discussed the importance of analytics. Let Colangelo hire his own staff, and everything might even flow more smoothly.
Mike Krzyzewski hates fun (even more than he admits).
So, the coach wasn’t thrilled after Team USA’s exhibition win over China, which included DeMar DeRozan nearly 360-degree dunking on someone.
Marc J. Spears of ESPN:
I want to see Team USA make highlight plays. Dunk from the free-throw line. Shoot from halfcourt. Throw behind-the-back passes. Show up weaker competition.
So, it’s hard for me to get behind Coach K’s criticism.
But I also want to see the Americans win gold medals in the Olympics, and I’ll blame Krzyzewski if they’re not adequately focused.
Fair? Not one bit.
Doesn’t change what I want, though.