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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.

Lakers’ Josh Hart wins Summer League MVP

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The Lakers wanted to test Josh Hart this summer: What would happen if they gave him a more substantial role? He was solid as a backup point guard last season (a good showing for a rookie), averaging 7.9 points per game and shooting 39.6 percent from three, but with Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo in the fold point guard minutes will be hard to come by next season.

What happened if they put the ball in Hart’s hands and made him the leader of a team on and off the court?

Hart responded by winning the NBA Las Vega Summer League MVP, averaging 24.2 points a game and leading the Lakers to the championship game. He dropped 37 on the Cavaliers and Collin Sexton in the semi-finals.

The award was announced Tuesday, in advance of the title contest between Hart and his Lakers vs. the Portland Trail Blazers.

Hart is the second Laker in a row to win the award, last year Lonzo Ball won it in leading the Lakers to a Summer League crown.

It’s an honor, but don’t assume Summer League MVP means NBA success. Sure, Damian Lillard won the award, but he was co-MVP with Josh Shelby. Glen Rice III won the award. The MVP list includes Kyle Anderson and Tyus Jones and other good but not All-Star players.

Hart also made the All-NBA Summer League first team. (Both the MVP award and All-NBA Summer League teams were voted on by a select media pannel.)

Here are the Las Vegas All Summer League teams:

All-NBA Summer League First Team

Wendell Carter Jr. (Chicago)
Josh Hart (Los Angeles Lakers)
Kevin Knox (New York)
Collin Sexton (Cleveland)
Christian Wood (Milwaukee)

MGM Resorts All-NBA Summer League Second Team

Deandre Ayton (Phoenix)
Wade Baldwin IV (Portland)
Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis)
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Los Angeles Lakers)
Trae Young (Atlanta)

Thibodeau reportedly bringing Derrick Rose back to Timberwolves on one-year deal

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In NBA free agency, there really are no terrible one-year contracts. Well, unless you’re Tyus Jones in Minnesota and you just want some playing time.

Tom Thibodeau loves his veterans and is loyal, and he is running it back with Derrick Rose for one more year, according to multiple reports.

For Rose, this is a much bigger financial deal than just his salary.

Rose played nine games and a total of 112 minutes for the Timberwolves, scoring 5.8 points a game when he did get on the court. When he was on the court, he played as more of a two-guard, off the ball next to Jones (who should get more run) and he had a couple of good games (against Houston and Memphis) and some disastrous ones as well. In the playoffs he shot 50.9 percent, hit 7-of-10 from three and was at the very worst solid.

That’s not to say there are no issues. He’s had series of injuries (he missed six games with Minnesota after a sprained ankle) and the fact he left his team in the middle of both of the past seasons to attend to personal matters.

With Jamal Crawford likely gone as a free agent, Rose may absorb some of his minutes, but he is not the scorer Crawford is. Can Rose sustain what he showed in the playoffs? I seriously doubt it. Will Tom Thibodeau keep playing him anyway? Probably. If that starts to take away minutes from more effective and efficient players, that’s not good.

But one year at basically the minimum, that’s not a bad deal, either.

Report: Minnesota’s Tyus Jones considered asking for trade, Thibodeau eased concerns

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If there was one thing at the top of the list that set off Timberwolves fans on Twitter last season — and that is a long list — it was the burying of backup point guard Tyus Jones on the bench.

Jones played well on the floor — he is an excellent pick-and-roll ball handler, knows how to run an offense, is strong in transition, and can knock down a spot-up jumper — and the Timberwolves were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents when he was on the court. Yet coach Tom Thibodeau jerked Jones’ minutes around — he leaned heavily on starter Jeff Teague and backup guard Jamal Crawford, then mid-season brought in Derrick Rose and gave him run. Jones’ minutes were up and down when they never should have been — even Teague went to Thibodeau and said to play Jones more.

It got to the point that after the season, the third-year guard considered asking for a trade, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.

But sources told Sporting News that Jones met with team management after the playoffs, and Thibodeau reasserted his support of Jones and his development. Even if the Wolves re-sign Rose, Jones was assured, his minutes and opportunities would increase because Crawford is not expected to return to the team. Rose mostly played shooting guard with the Wolves last season, so there’s a chance Jones could play alongside Rose as a backcourt bench unit.

Jones had considered requesting a trade, but the meeting with the team defused that notion before it arose. And for now, at least, the Wolves have no intention of dealing him.

Thibodeau is saying the right things, we’ll see if his actions back up his words. Jones will be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2019 and he has a lot of fans around the league in other front offices. If Minnesota doesn’t give him enough burn he will hunt out a place that will (and may pay more than Minnesota wants to match).

It’s one of a number of issues around the Timberwolves that could derail, at least temporarily, a team that is on the rise in the West.

Report: Timberwolves want to bring back Derrick Rose

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When Tom Thibodeau signed Derrick Rose — after the former MVP was traded at the deadline when Cleveland cleaned house, then waived instantly by Utah — NBA Twitter was a combination of scorn and derision. Especially Timberwolves fans. The consensus was Rose was going to be wretched on defense and certainly didn’t solve the team’s need for more shooting.

However, Rose was solid, particularly in the playoffs against Houston. In those five postseason games, Rose averaged 14.2 points per game, shot 50.9 percent from the field, and was knocking down his threes. While those numbers are not sustainable over the course of a regular season (or even more playoff games), Rose defended better than expected and showed he can still have a role in the NBA — backup point guard giving a team 15 minutes a night and creating shots.

Thibodeau and the Timberwolves want Rose back, reports Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

No question that they are interested in bringing Rose back. Thibs certainly heard plenty of questions when he first brought Rose in. But in that role as a combo guard off the bench, Rose was good. He played solid defense, scored well and was a great teammate.

The question will be can he stay healthy for a full season? His body just keeps betraying him, and he missed some time with a sprained ankle during his stint with the Wolves.

I have two thoughts here.

First, sure Minnesota wants him back, but at what price? Rose was on a one-year, $2.1 million this season, and at around that number he is an affordable part of the rotation. If another team wants to offer more (or if Rose demands it), the Timberwolves should back away from the table. Rose struggles to stay healthy at this point and he’s the wrong guy to trust to play more than 60 games next season.

Second, re-signing Rose cannot get in the way of minutes for Tyus Jones. At the end of the season and into the playoffs Jones lost his minutes to Rose, but Jones is the future at the backup one spot. His development matters more than just finding a replacement.