• The reports are flooding in and the meeting between Jimmy Butler and Tom Thibodeau has reach a conclusion. The result? Butler requesting a trade out of Minnesota, according to Shams Charania of the Athletic.

    The three teams have since been named as the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Each of those teams will have the max contract space to offer Butler an extension this summer, and each will have an opportunity to add another star player along side Butler in his elusive quest for a ring.

    The news comes less than a week before media day and training camp and the timing couldn’t be worse for the franchise. Butler and Thibodeau met in Los Angeles yesterday to discuss the player’s future with the team, which concluded with the trade request.

    Any trade will be difficult for Thibodeau, not only logistically, but on a personal and professional level as well. It’s tough to envision Thibodeau sticking around after Butler leaves, so trading him could be his own death sentence in Minnesota. Then extracting value out of Butler will be difficult as well with the season right around the corner. On top of that, Thibodeau has a deep admiration for Butler and is the type of player who fits his mold perfectly.

    For Thibodeau it’s a lose-lose. For the Wolves, it might be best if they can put this short era behind them and once again reset.


    UPDATE 9/20:

    It appears that Butler is determined to be traded to the Clippers where they can fit him and one other max-level player on the roster next summer, per Woj. However Thibodeau is hesitant to trade Butler at this time.

    For Thibodeau, if he trades Butler he’s raising the white flag. He wants to make this work at all costs, but that ship has sailed. At this point it looks like Thibs will either have to be fired or, if he indeed caves and trades Butler, will end up trading the disgruntled star for a package of veterans in a last-ditch attempt to win this season. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News spoke to an NBA executive who thinks that Thibs has no interest in a rebuild.

    As more information comes to light, this report will be updated. Check out the more in-depth look at the lead-up and fallout from this scenario here. Also in the meantime, feel free to check out the petty wars that are being fought. Everybody is chipping in; Butler, Wiggins, Stephen Jackson, Nick Wiggins, RIcky Rubio and even Lauri Markkanen. The NBA is back.


    UPDATE 9/21:

    This morning, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN published a piece that mentioned the front office for the Wolves was against the idea of trading Butler and weren’t even courting offers for the disgruntled player. This backed up last night’s report that Thibodeau would rather play-out the season with Butler than trade him and probably lose more games.

    The decision seems questionable but, from Thibodeau’s perspective, predictable. He’d rather captain a sinking ship than jump for the lifeboats, and when Thibs is the leading of the front office, they follow his directive.

    This afternoon, though, Woj again reported on the Wolves, this time mentioning that they are very much looking to trade Butler, you just have to go straight to the top to negotiate.

    This is why your head coach should not lead the basketball operations as well. Scott Layden, the GM of the Wolves who handles the day-to-day affairs and trade discussions, is now caught in between a potential battle of attrition between Thibodeau and Taylor (one that will surely end poorly for Thibs), and Layden will have to carefully toe the line between the two sides.

    Instead of causing some confusion, though, Taylor has taken matters into his own hands. At the Board of Governors Meetings the other executives inferred that they should talk to Taylor over anyone else, according to Woj:

    “The owner’s trading him,” one Board of Governors attendee told ESPN on Friday. “That was made clear. It’s just a matter of when.”

    “He basically said, ‘If you don’t get anywhere with [Layden], and you’ve got something good, bring it to me”

     

    At one point, it was looking like Thibodeau might be able to last the rest of the season before the two sides parted ways. Now it looks like Thibodeau (and possibly Butler) might not make it until Media Day on Monday.


    Update 9/22:

    The Jimmy Butler saga continues, but it plans to stay away from the cameras and watchful eyes for the time being. Jon Krawczynski of the Athletic has reported that Butler has been granted permission to skip Monday’s media day session. He also will miss the early portions of training camp.

    As fun as it would have been to see Butler and Wiggins in the same room answering questions about on another, this is the right move. It will still be quite awkward, but it saves the team a potential PR nightmare.

    It’s very likely that the team we see at media day and in training camp is vastly different from the team we see on opening night. Not only is Butler obviously nearing an exit, reports from last night suggest that Taylor would prefer to attach Gorgui Dieng to a Butler deal to clear even more future cap space. Then with the front office likely to go through a major overhaul and the coaching staff facing a mass exodus if Thibs is fired, things are about to get juicy in Minneapolis.

Fantasy News

  • Patrick Beverley
    PG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Patrick Beverley looked off his game as he missed his lone shot attempt from the field for zero points, three rebounds and four assists in 21 minutes on Friday.

    That's pretty much rock-bottom for a not-injured PatBev. Owners will just have to write this stinker off as he's capable of bringing it strong and ticking multiple category boxes on most nights. Stay patient. Off the bench, Reggie Jackson flirted with a triple-double, recording 10 points (4-of-6 shooting), eight rebounds, seven assists, two 3s and one steal in 19 minutes.

  • Paul George
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    Paul George looked more like his 100-percent healthy self in Friday's easy win over the Nuggets, notching 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting.

    PG13 had the hot hand and led his team with 6-of-8 shooting from deep to complement his four rebounds and two assists. This has been his best performance since returning from his latest hamstring injury. Hopefully, it signals his improved recovery and that he's closer to being back to 100 percent – where he can pose as a top-10 fantasy threat.

  • Montrezl Harrell
    PF, Los Angeles Clippers

    Montrezl Harrell had one of is better games on Friday night, putting up 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and a 4-of-4 run at the line in 20 minutes as the Clippers easily dispatched with the Nuggets 132-103.

    Harrell actually double-doubled, recording 10 rebounds and added four assists and three blocks to cap off his solid line for the night. The big man is shooting .769 at the line over the last week, making him the 50th best player in the league in 9-cat scoring formats. His partner in crime, Lou Williams, also had a good run tonight with 17 points (6-of-12 shooting), five threes, seven assists and a steal in 22 minutes.

  • Will Barton
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    Will Barton was back to his old tricks on Friday, tallying 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting with four 3s, four rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes.

    Barton, who had been slowed by some inflammation in his right knee recently, found his way back to fantasy-productivity with tonight's line. He's been playing outside the top-150 over the last week, but a few more of games like this should pull his needle closer to the mid-round range that its been for most of the season.

  • Nikola Jokic
    C, Denver Nuggets

    Nikola Jokic struggled to keep the Nuggets within striking distance of the hot Clippers on Friday, logging 25 minutes in a blowout loss but still recording 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting.

    Jokic nearly double-doubled with his nine boards and was also able to chip in two assists and one steal to the box score. This was not par for his top-10 trend lately, but was more a testament to how good the Clippers are than how poor the Nuggets play. Jokic will surely bounce back with a stellar top-10 worthy line sooner rather than later.

  • Michael Porter Jr.
    PF, Denver Nuggets

    Michael Porter Jr. was invisible in Friday's loss to the Clippers, getting just nine minutes off the bench from coach Mike Malone and wound up chipping in seven points on 3-of-4 shooting with three rebounds, one 3-pointer, one assist and one block.

    So much for MPJ being someone the Nuggets would like to see develop this season. He's shown his fair share of flashes this season, but random night like this make him difficult to trust, even in ultra-deep H2H leagues. Drop him if your fantasy team needs a consistent end-of-bench kinda guy.

  • Jerami Grant
    SF, Denver Nuggets

    Jerami Gran was productive yet again in 29 minutes off the bench in Friday's 103-132 loss to the Clippers, providing the Nuggets with 20 points (5-of-15 FGs, 8-of-10 FTs), four rebounds, two assists, two steals, two treys and one block.

    It appears that Grant is fully engaged on both ends of the floor, which has allowed him to be stay productive despite returning to a reserve role. Paul Millsap was nothing short of a hot mess in his 21 minutes as the starting four, delivering zero points (0-of-2 shooting), three rebounds, two assists and one block. Grant's the guy to own right now. That's for sure. Give him a look in case he was dropped in your league.

  • Jordan Clarkson
    PG, Utah Jazz

    Jordan Clarkson was heavily involved on offense in Friday's win over the Wizards, registering 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting with eight rebounds, two assists, two treys and two steals.

    Clarkson made up for his nine-point disappointment on Wednesday with tonight's output. He's been up and down all season, but has seen much more consistency since joining up with the Jazz. He's a late-round value as a scoring specialist with some minor peripheral contributions ROS.

  • Kristaps Porzingis
    PF-C, Dallas Mavericks

    Kristaps Porzingis had 24 points (9-of-21 FG, 6-of-14 3PT), 13 rebounds and two assists in Friday's 126-118 loss at the hands of the Heat.

    This qualifies as Porzingis's most 3-point attempts in a game this season, but only by one. His season average is 35% from deep, which is respectable, and he knocked down six of them tonight. KP has been a beast lately and has provided top-10 value over the past two months. If it weren't for his injury history, he'd be a lock to go in the first-round of fantasy drafts next fall, especially with Luka as the primary distributor for the Mavs for the foreseeable future. Keep riding this extended hot streak he's on right now.

  • Rudy Gobert
    C, Utah Jazz

    Rudy Gobert was a beast on the defensive end of the floor for the Jazz in a 129-119 win over the Wizards, recording three steals and four blocks to go with his nine points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes.

    While the scoring was not there and Gobert shooting 1-of-4 from the stripe, his contributions in the defensive categories were surely well received by his owners. Gobert's post-game was not too much part of the equation tonight as the Wizards tried to push the pace of the game. He should have a more balanced two-way performance soon.