Report: Timberwolves reticent to accept Rockets’ four-first-rounder offer, which includes Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss

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The Rockets reportedly offered the Timberwolves four first-round picks for Jimmy Butler, leaving two big questions:

  • Which players is Houston sending out to match salary?
  • How are the picks protected?

Apparently the answer to the first question is Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss, who salaries can be aggregated Wednesday (two months after being acquired from the Suns).

Shams Charania of Stadium:

Knight (making $14,631,250 this season and due $15,643,750 next season) holds significantly negative value. He hasn’t played well in years, and he’s currently injured. It would generally take a couple first-rounders just to unload him.

Chriss (making $3,206,160 this season with a $4,078,236 team option for next season that must be exercised by Wednesday) holds fairly neutral value. He’s young but has looked in over his head in the NBA, and at least he’s not guaranteed any money beyond this year.

So, to get Butler, Houston must send picks worth his value plus the absolute value of Knight’s negative value.

Does this offer do that? Perhaps. By rule, the first-rounders could convey in 2019, 2021, 2023 and 2025. Though the Rockets are already good and would be even better with Butler, their stars – Chris Paul (33), James Harden (29) and Butler (29) – are nearing the ends of their primes. Those later picks could be quite valuable.

But it depends on the protections. If Minnesota can’t get high picks in 2023 and 2025, the trade wouldn’t be worth it.

So, maybe the Timberwolves are just being stubborn by not accepting. Or maybe they’re being prudent with an offer that sounds better than it really is. We just don’t know.

At least Houston’s proposal served one purpose for Minnesota: Drumming up other offers. After dropping from negotiations, the Heat are involved again.

Five Reasons Sports Network:

Miami was reportedly close to sending Josh Richardson, a protected first-round pick and another player (probably Dion Waiters) to Minnesota for Butler. Maybe the teams will iron out that deal now.

The expectation is the Timberwolves will do something soon.

Dorian Finney-Smith slams putback dunk on two Timberwolves (video)

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The Mavericks have the best offensive rating (117.5 on Basketball-Reference) in NBA history.

That’s in part because Dallas is an excellent offensive-rebounding team.

Dorian Finney-Smith took it to the next level in the Mavericks’ win over the Timberwolves yesterday:

Poor Treveon Graham and Jarrett Culver.

Report: Woman drops sexual-assault lawsuit against Kings coach Luke Walton

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The NBA closed its investigation into Kings coach Luke Walton – whom Kelli Tennant sued, alleging sexual assault – without finding wrongdoing.

Walton – who denied the allegations from his time as a Warriors assistant coach and Lakers head coach – won’t face a civil trial, either.

TMZ:

The woman who accused Luke Walton of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room in 2017 has officially dropped her lawsuit against the NBA coach, TMZ Sports has learned.

Unclear if Walton and Tennant struck a settlement — but it’s not uncommon in situations like this.

We might eventually learn details of a settlement. But with Tennant not cooperating with the NBA investigation and now dropping her lawsuit, Walton will likely get to continue his coaching career without this hanging over him.

It’s often difficult for victims of sexual abuse to prove the crime occurred. Likewise, it’s often difficult for wrongfully accused people to prove their innocence. Tennant’s main allegation occurred in a hotel room with only she and Walton present.

Hopefully, justice prevailed here.

Blake Griffin inadvertently hits referee in face (video)

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Blake Griffin kept causing problems during the Pistons’ loss to the Bucks last night.

He and Giannis Antetokounmpo went face-to-face a couple times. At one point, Griffin bumped down and stepped over Antetokounmpo, prompting Khris Middleton to confront the Detroit star.

But Griffin saved his most devastating work for referee Scott Twardoski.

Griffin extended his arm and whacked Twardoski in the face, flooring the official. Play stopped for Twardoski to recover. The replay doesn’t do the contact justice. Twardoski was moving quickly up the floor when he ran straight into Griffin’s hand.

At least it wasn’t as bad as this legendary Carlos Boozer moment:

Out of game, shoeless LeBron James waves towel on court near play (video)

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LeBron James wasn’t about that NBA-rulebook life last night.

Not only did he get away with a comically blatant travel, he – ostensibly out of the game – later wandered onto the court during play. He got pretty close to the action, waving his towel in celebration of consecutive Kyle Kuzma blocks.

And LeBron was wearing only socks on his feet. He had already given his shoes away to young fans – with 4:20 left! Sure, the Lakers were up 19 on the Jazz, but that’s a lot of time remaining. What a kind and totally disrespectful gesture, a real do-it-all move.

Restless-late-in-a-blowout LeBron is the best LeBron.