Spurs sign JaMychal Green to partially guaranteed contract

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The Spurs have had their eye on JaMychal Green for quite some time.

After he went undrafted out of Alabama in 2012, he played for San Antonio’s summer summer-league team. He spent that season with the Austin Toros, the Spurs’ D-League team. Then, following last season in France, Green joined San Antonio’s summer summer-league team once again this summer.

For most of that journey, Green was deemed – despite his hustle – too unrefined for the NBA.

That has changed.

Spurs team release:

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed forward JaMychal Green.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

That partial guarantee usually indicates a player is likely to make the team, but the Spurs now have 16 players with at least partially unguaranteed contracts – plus Aron Baynes.

A restricted free agent, Baynes remains unsigned. He had a fully guaranteed $1,115,243 qualifying offer that remains on the table until Oct. 1 if it wasn’t pulled by July 23. I’ve seen no reports San Antonio withdrew it, but that type of thing can fly below the radar. If the qualifying offer remains intact and Baynes accepts it – and I find it unlikely another NBA team offers more money, though a foreign team could – he’d give San Antonio 17 players with at least partially guaranteed contracts.

That’s two over the regular-season limit of 15.

Cotton’s deal is only $50,000 guaranteed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Green received a similar guarantee. Maybe the Spurs would be willing to eat the fully guaranteed salary of someone like Austin Daye, or perhaps they have a trade already lined up.

Possibly, San Antonio was just willing to give Green and Cotton partially guaranteed contracts to ensure its top targets were in its camp. But if Baynes re-signs, the Spurs would have room for neither Green nor Cotton without waiving a fully guaranteed player.

To an NBA team, spending $50,000 on a player is a relatively small investment. But it’s not one most teams make without a clear path for that player to join the roster. I’m not sure what San Antonio has in mind here, but it’s something.

Blake Griffin’s dunk attempt stuffed by Jarrett Allen. Again (video)

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Pistons star Blake Griffin learned his lesson after getting his dunk blocked by Nets center Jarrett Allen in the preseason. In the regular-season opener, Griffin went up even harder.

And Allen still stopped him!

Kevin Durant’s brother says Instagram comment wasn’t about star leaving Warriors this summer

AP Photo/Ben Margot
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Rumors about Kevin Durant leaving the Warriors are intensifying. Even people within the Golden State organization are bracing themselves for him to depart in free agency next summer.

Not even the Warriors collecting their championship rings could stop the momentum.

In fact, last night’s celebration contributed to the noise.

Kevin’s brother, Tony, commented on Kevin’s Instagram post featuring the rings, “Filling the hand up before we get outta here!”

Rob Perez of The Action Network:

My best guess was “here” meant the Warriors’ arena in Oakland. This is their last season there before moving to a new arena in San Francisco Francisco.

Or maybe “here” meant in the NBA. Careers in the NBA are finite.

Another thought that crossed my mind: “Here” could have meant in this world. Lives, too, are finite.

The only clear part: Tony wants Kevin to win a handful of rings. The deadline is nebulous.

Of course, the loudest speculation was “here” meant playing for the Warriors and this being the last run. But Tony sharply denied that.

Perez:

If you want to be a conspiracy theorist, perhaps Tony meant leaving Golden State after this season but Kevin just instructed him to downplay it to quiet chatter. I suppose that’s possible, though it wouldn’t jibe with Kevin’s tell-the-truth-about-free-agency approach.

Occam’s Razor suggests taking Tony at his word, and that’s what I’ll do.

Report: Tom Thibodeau raised asking price for Jimmy Butler after infamous practice

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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After sitting out while awaiting a trade rehabbing after injuring his wrist, Jimmy Butler practiced with the Timberwolves for the first time last week. He reportedly showed up late, talked a ton of trash and led third-stringers to a win over the starters then left early.

Amidst widespread speculation they had to trade Butler after that, the Tom Thibodeau-run Timberwolves put out word they considered it their best practice of the year.

Maybe Thibodeau is that insanely competitive. Maybe he was just trying to preserve leverage.

If it were the latter, he sure stuck to his story.

Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:

Teams who talked to Minnesota after his first practice, literally the day after his practice, Minnesota was asking for more then than they were before the day. Which tells you this: Minnesota is not trading him. They’re asking for packages that know teams aren’t going to agree to.

The Timberwolves are in a though spot. Butler is an excellent player, but everyone knows he wants out. I don’t blame them for trying to maximize their limited leverage.

How will Butler react to this revelation, though? Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said he told Butler the team would seek a trade. Butler pledged to play hard in the meantime.

But if Butler playing hard just makes it less likely Minnesota will trade him, will he feel as if the team isn’t holding up its end of the bargain? Then what?

It has long seemed Taylor and Thibodeau are on different pages on several issues. Though Taylor just backed Thibodeau, Butler could drive a wedge even deeper between the owner and president-coach.

Russell Westbrook sneak-snacking steals show on NBA’s opening night

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NBA’s opening night was quite tame. The Celtics and Warriors won as expected, neither the 76ers nor Thunder mounting much of a challenge.

That allowed Russell Westbrookout with an injury — to have the most fun moment when he looked around deviously, turned to his side and ate something.

What did did Westbrook eat? Was he not supposed to be eating? Did he not want to share? Big questions remain unanswered surrounding this important incident.