Evan Turner thinks he could be first pick, but he'll take Philly

3 Comments

Thumbnail image for turner_jumper.jpgJohn Wall is going to be the first pick in the draft. He is. That doesn’t mean it’s not debatable — we’ll be happy to play devil’s advocate to the conventional wisdom.

Evan Turner is going to be drafted second overall. But he thinks he should be considered for that top pick, something he said in an interview with reporters at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago today. (Adam Fluck at Bulls Blog posted the audio.)

“I think it’s still a possibility and we’re definitely going to do an individual workout for (Washington) and see what is going on for there,” Evans said.

Evans said that he is a more versatile player — he has played the point and had one of the nation’s best assist rates last year but is projected as a shooting guard — and suggested his game would blend better with Gilbert Arenas. Which assumes that Arenas will put on a Wizards uniform again, which is an entirely different debate.

Still, if he has to go second, things are always sunny in Philadelphia.

“I think they have a lot of good young players and I could help fit in,” Evans said, emphasizing his ability to play either guard along with Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday.

Turner is part of the current breed of NBA player that bends the traditional notions of positions in the NBA. Dirk Nowitzki is the classic example — he’s a center by height but really plays like a small forward. Why try to pigeonhole him into one role when you are better suited just to look for ways to use his gifts.

Turner is sort of the same way, he can be a combo guard. Brandon Roy does that in Portland — he’s not the point guard technically, but the offense runs through him and his decision making. In that sense Turner could blend with Arneas is Washington or Holiday and Iguodala in Philadelphia.

“I’m just a basketball player, it doesn’t matter at all (what position I play)… I don’t feel I have a natural position,” Turner said.

Turner said he is now just working out everyday, making 550 shots a day, to get ready for the next level. He said he is particularly focusing on three point shooting — he hit a respectable 36 percent from the college arc last year (with defenses focused on him) but he has to be consistent with that shot from the NBA level to really have an impact next year.

And after three years in Columbus, Turner is itching to make an impact on the big stage. Whatever the position.

Karl-Anthony Towns denies Jimmy Butler rift due to Butler sleeping with Towns’ girlfriend

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
1 Comment

Karl-Anthony Towns reportedly won’t sign his contract extension until the Timberwolves handle the Jimmy Butler situation, which escalated with Butler’s trade request.

What’s the problem between the teammates?

Robert Littal of BSO:

Towns:

OK then.

Same company to appear on Trail Blazers jerseys, reportedly endorse Damian Lillard

Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Leave a comment

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers have announced a multi-year jersey sponsorship deal with Performance Health, an Illinois-based company that manufactures products for the rehabilitation and sports medicine markets. The company will also reportedly endorse Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

A logo for the company’s product Biofreeze will be featured on the left shoulder of Portland’s uniform. With the deal, the Blazers become the 24th NBA team to include a corporate sponsor on its jerseys.

Biofreeze is a topical pain reliever. Snowboarder Shawn White and tennis player Sloane Stephens are among the product’s individual athlete endorsers.

The NBA first allowed jersey sponsorships last season. Trail Blazers President and CEO Chris McGowan said Portland was close to deals last year but they fell through, and so the team took its time in finding the right partner.

The Biofreeze logo will also be featured on the team’s practice apparel.

Report: Jimmy Butler wanted Timberwolves to add four years, $155 million to his contract this summer

AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King
3 Comments

Jimmy Butler rejected the largest-possible extension the capped-out Timberwolves could offer him this summer – a four-year deal worth $100,514,631 ($25,128,658 average annual salary).

After all, his projected max in free agency this summer is about $190 million over five years (about $38 million annually) if he re-signs or about $141 million over four years (about $35 million annually) if he leaves.

But Minnesota’s extension offer wasn’t technically the largest possible this summer. Theoretically, the Timberwolves could have cleared cap space to renegotiate his salary upward then offered a richer extension based on his new salary.

And apparently that’s what Butler wanted – and didn’t get – before requesting a trade.

Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic:

Butler was hoping for a renegotiation and extension of his contract this summer, one that would have raised his salary for 2018-19 to $30 million and added another four years and $145 million on to that.

The Timberwolves could have trimmed their roster to only their starters – Butler, Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Karl-Anthony Towns. That would have meant using sweeteners to unload Gorgui Dieng‘s negative value contract, dumping recent first-round picks Justin Patton, Tyus Jones and Josh Okogie and not using the mid-level exception on Anthony Tolliver. Only players who signed for the minimum could have still wound up on the roster.

Minnesota still wouldn’t have had enough cap space to renegotiate Butler’s salary up to $30 million.

Perhaps, Butler wanted the Timberwolves to take more drastic measures like trading Wiggins for little to no returning salary. But they clearly weren’t going to do that, and they’d long gone down the opposite road of adding salary. They weren’t coming close to clearing the $10 million of cap space necessary to raise Butler’s salary that much.

This is all raises questions about timing. Nearly every report on Butler’s wishes has gone out of its way to say contract concerns – not problems with Wiggins and Towns – were the primary driver of the trade request. But if that were the case, why now? Butler had to know for months he wasn’t getting his desired extension.

While his brother spars online with Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins takes up fight with Stephen Jackson

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
9 Comments

Jimmy Butler lit a fuse by requesting a trade from the Timberwolves.

Then, Andrew Wiggins‘ brother, Butler, Stephen Jackson and Wiggins himself all fanned the flames of the resulting fire.

Butler reportedly had problems with Andrew Wiggins last season, specifically Wiggins’ work ethic and defensive approach. Want corroborating evidence the Minnesota teammates aren’t simpatico? Wiggins’ brother, Nick Wiggins, tweeted (and deleted) “Hallelujah” to news of Butler’s trade request:

Butler – probably not coincidentally while working out – responded via Instagram:

Butler:

Hallelujah, keep that same energy

Then the retired Jackson acted out an elaborate scene in which Andrew – played by Jackson – copped to having no heart:

The real Andrew Wiggins didn’t like that and posted on Instagram:

Jackson responded:

If he didn’t like Butler giving him grief, Wiggins darned sure isn’t ready for heat from Jackson.