Mavericks sound like team ready to move on from Odom

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Just like after the Mavericks last game, coach Rick Carlisle was not going to talk about Lamar Odom on Monday. All he said is they wouldn’t have trouble filling his playing time, which was all of 4 minutes last game and 34 over the last four.

So reporters turned to ask veteran Jason Terry if Odom was a distraction. (Via ESPNDallas.com.)

“Key word: was. He’s not here anymore,” Terry said … “We won’t know how much we miss him until the season’s over, I guess.”

In statement after statement Monday afternoon the Mavericks sounded like a team just ready to move on from the Odom issue and get on with the playoffs. Earlier on Monday it was announced the Mavericks and Odom had come to an agreement to go their separate ways. (Odom is not being released by the team and cannot be picked up by another team for the playoffs, it would be after the deadline to add players to the playoff roster anyway.)

Mark Cuban, who had publicly backed Odom before, did not comment yet. Team GM Donnie Nelson did and sounded sympathetic.

“I know it’s been a difficult and frustrating year for our fans, for Lamar and for ourselves,” Nelson said in a news conference…. “We’ll adjust. We’ve got other guys,” Nelson said. “I really feel that we have other guys that are ready to step up. So that’s what we’ll do.”

Odom did have personal things going on — he had a 24-year-old cousin murdered over the summer, then while in New York a town car where Odom was a passenger ran over and killed a 15-year-old boy. Even before the lockout ended Odom had broached to friends the idea of taking the season off. Then, when the Lakers planned to trade him as part of the Chris Paul deal that was eventually killed by David Stern, he was even more hurt.

He requested a trade, the Lakers moved him to Dallas for basically a trade exception and a pick, but he never found a groove with the veteran team. He complained he never had a defined role, but his versatility never showed itself. He averaged 6.6 points per game on 35 percent shooting, 4.2 rebounds a game, and most nights just seemed to go through the motions.

Dallas was counting on his depth to help make up for guys let go in free agency. That didn’t happen, and the daily questions of “what is wrong with Odom” were wearing on the coach and players. So the organization cut bait and moved on.

That may be best for Odom, to get his head right and come back as a free agent somewhere next year.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.