This much we know: The Miami Heat have been the most aggressive team in the pursuit of a Jimmy Butler trade so far. Also, Miami is now Butler’s “preferred destination.”
After that this is all speculation, but this is what a lot of people around the league are suggesting is the hold up in getting a Butler to Miami trade done:
Maybe Thibodeau wants the 25-year-old wing who averaged 12.9 points per game last season, is versatile, plays with a high motor, can defend, is improving fast, and is locked up through the summer of 2021 on a team-friendly contract to come to Minnesota as the core of a deal. We know Miami doesn’t want to put him in the trade, something reported by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
The Heat has been reluctant to include Josh Richardson, preferring instead to have a Butler/Richardson tandem that would be among the league’s best for a small forward/shooting guard pairing.
Miami has made Goran Dragic available, and he with Justise Winslow would work financially as a trade. However, a third team would need to be involved to get the Gorgui Dieng contract off the Timberwolves books, plus it would leave Minnesota with two quality point guards because they already have Jeff Teague, so this is at least a three-team trade, maybe more.
Thibodeau’s reluctance to make a trade is being painted by some as him clinging to hope he can get Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns on the same page again. Maybe that’s overstated (by teams trying to force a quick trade), Thibs has said consistently he just wants a good deal, and he has sat down with Butler to try to change his mind and failed. No doubt the first offers were lowball ones, maybe he is holding out for better. It’s a complex scenario with a lot of moving parts, but if you ask me what makes the most sense it’s this:
Thibodeau is waiting for a good Josh Richardson offer.
This is going to turn into a thing. It shouldn’t, but it’s the NBA offseason and people are looking for something to talk about, so this — which is really not much of anything — will become a thing. And it’s going to suck for Devin Booker.
Booker was taking part in some summer run, got a pass in the corner, decided to hold the ball and hold the ball, then the double team came. Booker was no fan of the double.
We just do not have enough context from this video to say much. It’s some guys jawing during open gym — if you’ve played five minutes of pickup ball anywhere you know this is how it goes.
But, Booker comes off in this clip as a bit whiny. So for some it will become a thing. Even though it shouldn’t.
It’s going to be interesting to see how different Devin Booker’s game looks next season next to a quality NBA point guard in Ricky Rubio. It could lead to another step forward for the young guard, but like this video we will need to see more before commenting.
Tacko Fall was arguably the most popular player at Las Vegas Summer League (especially since Zion Williamson only played nine minutes). Fans chanted for him to get in games and then chanted “M-V-P” once he was in. Fall averaged 7.2 points a game on 77 percent shooting at Summer League and every play he made became a viral highlight.
But that was Summer League.
Now things are getting real and Fall is trying to make the Celtics’ roster. Fall signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Celtics, which is essentially a training camp invite.
It’s a longshot Fall makes the Celtics’ regular season roster for two reasons. First, Fall needs a lot more development to be NBA ready, both physically and in terms of understanding and reacting to the game and how fast it moves. That was evident in Las Vegas. Second, the Celtics have Enes Kanter starting at center with Daniel Theis and Robert Williams behind him, it’s unlikely they keep a fourth traditional center on the roster. Both of Boston’s two-way contracts are already filled.
If the Celtics cut Fall and he signs with Boston’s G-League affiliate the Maine Red Claws, Fall gets a $50,000 bonus.
However, Fall’s agent Justin Haynes says if Boston cuts Fall he believes another team will sign him, something Haynes told Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe.
“If the Celtics release him, I don’t think he goes unclaimed,” said Haynes, Fall’s agent. “I think somebody will take a shot on him because he’s done enough to show he can find a place in the NBA. I’m really hopeful that it’s Boston. I hope they find a way, and they do have a vision for him.”
I could see another team giving Fall one of their two-way contracts, but he needs a lot more development and time on the court. He needs time in the G-League. Maybe a team gives him a roster spot and develops him there, but that seems unlikely. Fall has the potential to be an NBA player, but it’s going to take a lot of work for him to get there.
Work that this year likely will take place in the G-League.
This is where you insert your “if one more player drops from USA Basketball” joke…
Team USA has flown to Australia for a series of FIBA World Cup tuneup games — two against Australia, one against Canada — and they are practicing there for a few days prior to those games. At one of those practices, USA (and Spurs) coach Gregg Popovich showed off a little behind-the-back dribble and midrange game, and Donovan Mitchell caught it on his camera and posted it.
Just as a reminder, Pop did play. Never in the NBA, but he was one of the last cuts of the 1972 USA Olympic team.
That said, I think the coaching gig worked out pretty well for him.
Team USA will play Australia on Aug. 22 and 24, then face Canada on Aug. 26. From there the USA flies to China where its first game is Sept. 1 against the Czech Republic.
Trae Young. John Collins. Kevin Huerter. De’Andre Hunter. Cam Reddish.
The Atlanta Hawks have quietly built one of the more intriguing young teams in the NBA the past couple of years, trading up and down in the draft to compile a young roster with a lot of potential. They moved on from Mike Budenholzer (he landed on his feet just fine, thanks) and brought in player development specialist in Llyod Pierce as coach. All that has yet to translate to a lot of wins, but it will — the trajectory of the Hawks is going to take off like a rocket.
Travis Schlenk, the Hawks general manager and architect of all of it, earned the contract extension and new title he was given, something announced by the team on Monday. Schlenk is now Atlanta’s President of Basketball Operations and General Manager.
“We are extremely pleased with the direction that Travis and our entire basketball operations team has us heading as a franchise. He has used the draft to build an impressive young core, hired one of the NBA’s top young coaches in Lloyd Pierce and positioned us to have the cap space, draft picks and financial flexibility needed to have long-term success in the NBA,” Hawks Principal Owner Tony Ressler said in a statement announcing the move.
Schlenk had been an assistant GM in Golden State before coming to Atlanta, and also had spent time in the Miami and Orlando organizations. He’s been in the NBA front office game for a couple of decades.
This is a smart decision by the Hawks. When things are going well, when you have good people in place, keep them there and get ownership out of the way. Let the basketball people do their jobs. Atlanta has figured that out.
The Hawks won 24 games during Schlenk’s first year and 29 last season, but expect that number to jump as the young talent on this roster continues to mature and get added to.