Harry How/Getty Images

Reports: Jimmy Butler’s trade preference is Clippers, Knicks less interested

Leave a comment

Knicks president Steve Mills said New York wouldn’t trade its draft picks and wouldn’t trade for players it could just sign in free agency. In other words: No more Carmelo Anthony– or Andrea Bargnani-type deals.

Then, Jimmy Butler – who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer – requested a trade from the Timberwolves and put the Knicks on his list of preferred destinations (with the Nets and Clippers).

Will Mills hold firm in his patient plan?

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Brooklyn and the Clippers appear motivated on Butler, while the Knicks have been firm all summer that the team does not want to part with assets and instead prioritize signing free agents outright, according to sources.

The Knicks should be reluctant to trade for Butler now. Especially with Kristaps Porzingis injured, Butler is unlikely to help New York win meaningfully this season. It’d be much better to sign him next summer and preserve assets.

But there’s no guarantee the Knicks sign him next summer. Whichever team has his Bird Rights and ability to offer him a larger contract will have the upper-hand. There is value in trading for him now.

Perhaps, the Knicks can find a worthwhile Butler trade that includes trading picks. The only way to find out is negotiating with Minnesota.  For New York to eliminate the idea outright because the team made mistakes in similar situations would be misguided.

But Knicks are going to Knick.

At least New York isn’t Butler’s first choice.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

https://twitter.com/wojespn/status/1042568202314764289

Might that other max slot go to Kyrie Irving?

First, L.A. must make the best offer to the Timberwolves and one acceptable to a reportedly reluctant Tom Thibodeau. Then, the Clippers must lure Irving – or any star (Kawhi Leonard?) – from his team.

It’s easy to imagine. It’s far more difficult to turn into reality.

Report: Jimmy Butler less enthused about Lakers after they signed LeBron James

AP Photo/Tony Dejak
1 Comment

In 2014, Jimmy Butler said, “I like being a role player. Star has never been next to Jimmy Butler’s name. It never will be. I’ll always be an under-the-radar dawg.”

Then, Butler kept getting better and better. He started to appreciate his stature within the game. He took a leadership role on the Bulls. He embraced celebrity.

Maybe his trade request from the Timberwolves – ideally to the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets or L.A. Clippers – is the next step in this evolution.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

He is enamored with the idea of playing a central role in a big market, sources said. Butler had once imagined playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, but LeBron James‘ arrival as the franchise’s cornerstone made it less appealing for Butler in the prime of his career, league sources said.

Playing with LeBron isn’t for everyone. Kawhi Leonard reportedly became more reluctant to join the Lakers once they got LeBron. (Interestingly, Leonard is reportedly dissuaded by the hoopla LeBron would attract while Butler apparently believes he wouldn’t get enough of a spotlight).

And of course, Kyrie Irving requested and received a trade from LeBron’s Cavaliers last year. Irving and Butler are friends, and maybe Irving warned Butler about the perils of playing with LeBron.

I’m not sure how this report fits with Butler wanting to play with Irving, though. Irving is more popular than Butler. Perhaps, Irving holding a smaller stature than LeBron is enough for Butler. Maybe playing with Irving would be the exception to Butler’s desire to have his own team in a big market.

Or maybe Butler still winds up in Los Angeles with LeBron. Butler was reportedly open to it, though that’s a pretty low standard.

No matter what, Butler should pursue what he wants. NBA careers are short. Players should make the most of theirs, whatever that means to them.

Butler has so far shown he can balance working hard and playing well with stardom. He has earned the right to seek a larger public profile without major consternation about what it’d mean to his on-court production.

How did Terry Rozier know he was hitting it big? Urkel.

Getty Images
4 Comments

Scary Terry broke out last year. Terry Rozier had been playing well for the Celtics all season off the bench, but when Kyrie Irving went down and Rozier got thrust into a bigger role he thrived. Rozier averaged 16.5 points and 5.7 assists per game in the playoffs, leading the Celtics all the way to Game 7 of the Conference Finals.

With the extra court time (and screen time), Rozier became a celebrity. How did he know he had gotten big? Urkel, as he explained to GQ.

Man, Urkel. We were out to eat in LA. He was with his bodyguards. He got up to leave and he tapped me. “You had a great year.” Everybody knows who Steve Urkel is. That was nuts. It’s been crazy all summer. People can take it two ways. They can either be satisfied or it can be a thing where, “I want this to happen forever.” It’s definitely humbling and it’s a blessing. I want this to always be like this.

Rozier talks about a lot of interesting things in the article, from the wisdom of Brad Stevens to picking his father up from jail, and of course the new contract with PUMA. It’s worth the read.

And with the Rozier heading into a contract year, his future and how much other teams may pay to poach him will be a big topic all season.

Rumor: Celtics, Jamal Crawford have mutual interest

Getty Images
2 Comments

The Boston Celtics have 15 guaranteed contracts on the roster, the most they can carry into the season. They also have pretty good depth on the wing: Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward will start at the 2/3 spots, with Marcus Smart and Semi Ojeleye behind them. The Celtics are not really looking to add a wing. Plus, Crawford was frustrated with his role last season in Minnesota getting almost 21 minutes a night and having the ball in his hands a lot, that’s not necessarily a fit with Boston’s selfless style.

But a good rumor never lets facts get in the way — like Jamal Crawford to the Celtics.

The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, talking on the Celtics Beat podcast with Adam Kaufman, said there is “mutual interest” between the sides (hat tip to NBC Sports Boston).

“There is mutual interest between the Celtics and Crawford. That I do know. The Celtics didn’t make an offer to him. He’s been kind of waiting for the right situation to materialize. That’s why he’s holding out to training camp, basically. He wants to be in a position to win a championship. He wants to sign on with one of these title teams.” 

Is Crawford really a fit for the Celtics? While he is 38, and his skills and his efficiency have slipped in recent years, he still averaged 10.3 points per game last season in Minnesota. While he is a three-time Sixth Man of the Year (most recently in 2016), he is more of a volume scorer who creates his own shots and is not much of a defender. Is that what Brad Stevens and the Celtics would want? Crawford certainly can still carry a team for a five-minute stretch off the bench some nights, but is it a good fit in Boston?

Depends on how the Celtics’ bench is doing. My guess is we will be well into training camp if not into the season before a team comes calling for Crawford — but a good team will come calling. He has value, he can still get buckets. Maybe the Celtics will need that, but another team could have that need first.

Paul Pierce jokes about NBA comeback with new ‘workout video’

2 Comments

Paul Pierce is nearly 41 years old. The former Boston Celtics forward is no doubt a Hall of Famer, and he has slid into his role as a broadcaster seemingly with great pleasure.

But could Pierce be on the road to an NBA comeback?

Probably not, but that was the joke put forth by Pierce and the crew over at ESPN’s “The Jump” this week. Deciding it was right territory for skewering, Pierce made fun of all of the summer time workout videos we see surfacing from NBA players by making his own.

Of course, players like Andrew Bynum have reportedly wanted to make a real NBA comeback, and Twitter is always abound with what we like to call #MuscleWatch — where players appear to have added 20 lb of bulk some 60 days after season’s end.

Pierce isn’t making an NBA comeback anytime soon. That said, some folks want to see these workout videos or else they think you aren’t putting in work.

One fan decided to go after Damian Lillard for just such a thing, which the Portland Trail Blazers guard quickly shut down.