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Report: Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah feuded during final season with Bulls

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The discord between Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose is well-established.

But apparently that wasn’t the only tension between Butler and a Bulls teammate.

Butler and Joakim Noah had their own problems during the 2015-16 season before Noah left for the Knicks the following summer.

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

The pair had grown very close in Butler’s first few seasons, but, as the season unfolded, it became impossible for the organization to ignore just how much love had been lost between the formerly tight pair. According to multiple sources, Noah and Butler engaged in several heated disagreements throughout that season.

“What happened?” Butler says. “I don’t know. All I can say is, obviously he’s been with me since I was a nobody in this league. And I went about things a lot differently. My voice wasn’t heard. And he’s been with me as I came to be an All-Star as well in this league. And my voice was heard then. And when my voice is heard, I’m going to let it be heard.”

“We’re just different people,” Noah says. “We were always very close; me and Jimmy were always very close, but things change.”

Butler didn’t always feel as if some members of the group were putting in the work that he was. According to multiple sources, one of the things that always irritated Butler, specifically regarding Noah, was the All-Star center’s propensity for showing up late to team activities, setting a poor example for younger players. “Yeah, if they didn’t like the way that I went about things, and I was pissed off because I know how hard I work and I want people to work as hard as I work, I’ll take that,” Butler says now.

After not speaking for more than a year, Noah and Butler patched things up this summer during some training sessions in California, according to sources. Noah says he and Rose still talk about how much they miss some of the good times they had with Thibodeau and their teammates in Chicago.

For a long time, Rose and Noah were the clear leaders in Chicago. They commanded attention on and off the court. Butler took his place below them as a hustle player.

But Butler worked his way into Rose’s and Noah’s class then beyond as Rose (injuries) and Noah (injuries and aging) faltered. That created an awkward dynamic, as Rose and Noah weren’t exactly comfortable with the new power structure. Butler, learning to lead on the fly, wasn’t always delicate in his attempts to assert himself. That was especially damaging while still sharing the court and locker room with Rose and Noah.

Butler earned his place, though. His work ethic is a great example to his teammates, even if he’s harsh in demanding others keep up . If the Bulls embraced him more, they might be in better shape.

Instead, Butler is with the Timberwolves, Noah with the Knicks and Chicago in the basement.

At least Butler and Noah are on better terms now. That’s always nice to hear.

It may be moot, but Kawhi Leonard now eligible for super-max contract with Spurs

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Early on in the Kawhi Leonard saga with the Spurs, there was a sense in some (even many) quarters of the NBA world that the two sides would work things out. Why? Because the Spurs can offer Leonard way more money than anybody else — $221 million. That’s thanks to the “Kevin Durant rule” added to the most recent CBA that allows the team that drafted a player who meets the criteria (twice All-NBA, MVP, etc.) to get 35 percent of the salary cap at a younger age.

Money did not solve this problem — Leonard and the Spurs are farther apart than ever.

That said, Leonard did just become eligible on Sunday for that massive payday. From Bobby Marks of ESPN.

Kawhi Leonard is now super max eligible (third year anniversary of the contract signed on July 16, 2015) to receive a five-year $221 million extension from the Spurs. If Leonard is traded, the most he could receive in an extension (six months after the trade) would be $108 million over four-years (starting in 2019-20). Leonard would be eligible to sign a five-year $190 million contract as a free agent with the team acquiring him or four-years $141 million with a team that has cap space. Leonard would not be super max eligible as a free agent with the new team acquiring him even if he earned All-NBA honors in 2018-19.

Leonard is still trying to force a trade, and that remains at a standstill.

Where do things stand? Everyone involved is waiting for someone else to blink

San Antonio is waiting for the L.A. Lakers or Philadelphia (or anyone else, such as Toronto) to make what they see as an acceptable offer. Those other teams are holding out their best trade pieces — the Lakers with both Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, the Sixers with Markelle Fultz, etc. — waiting for the Spurs to accept less, closer to what recent big name player trades (DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George) went for. Complicating it all is Leonard’s inexperienced management team, which does not have long-standing relationships with teams, has communicated different things at times, and teams just do not know if they can trust them.

There are conflicting reports and I’ve heard conflicting things from sources, down to the most fundamental issues: Does Leonard want to be a Laker, or does he not want to play with LeBron? Whatever the answer, every day this drags out the Spurs lose leverage.

Even so, this could drag out into training camp. Or longer.

Grizzlies sign second-round pick Jevon Carter to multiyear contract

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies have signed second-round pick Jevon Carter to a multiyear deal.

Terms of the contract announced Sunday were not disclosed, but Carter himself confirmed the deal.

Carter has impressed at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and in Utah. His dogged, aggressive defense has slowed players — Trae Young had some of his worst games against Carter — and on offense his game has improved, including him dropping 26 points on the Jazz recently.

Carter was taken with the No. 32 pick after winning the Naismith defensive player of the year last season at West Virginia. The point guard was second in the nation with 3.03 steals per game and is the Mountaineers’ career leader in that category.

“Ray Allen from long distance” with chip shot to save par at American Century Classic

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“Ray Allen from long distance, how many times have we said that?”

Ray Allen had a good weekend at the American Century Championships, the former NBA sharpshooter and future Hall of Famer finished third in the celebrity golf event. One of the reasons he was there, this chip shot on 13 Sunday.

Former Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo won the event, with former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder was second.

LeBron James sits courtside for Lakers’ Summer League win

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There are two, maybe three guys playing for the Lakers in Summer League likely to be sharing a locker room with LeBron James next season — Isaac Bonga and Josh Hart, with maybe Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and/or Alex Caruso. Only Hart could see the court much.

LeBron was still courtside on Sunday for a quarterfinal game at Summer League, showing his support and being a good teammate. He gave Hart a hug on the court. Brandon Ingram stopped by and talked with LeBron for a bit.

LeBron watched the Lakers continue their strong run through the Summer League, racking up a 101-78 win. LeBron was into it, when Mykhailiuk took a shot midway through the first quarter LeBron yelled, ‘cash only!”  The shot was nothing but net.

The Lakers are on to the Summer League semifinals. Los Angeles won the Vegas Summer League last year.