September 15, 2018, 7:20 pm
A meeting that could have huge ramifications on the future of the franchise is reportedly set for next week. Jon Krawczynski of the Athletic tweeted earlier today that Jimmy Butler has asked to meet with Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden to discuss his future with the franchise.
Jimmy Butler will meet with Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden on Monday to "have honest conversations about the All-Star's future with the team," sources tell @TheAthleticMIN. Story upcoming.
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) September 15, 2018
This is a major development and it’s anyone’s guess what direction this could take. Reports have simmered all summer that Butler has had trouble getting along with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, the Wolves’ other two stars. For what it’s worth, Towns has yet to accept the five-year max rookie-scale contract extension the Wolves offered earlier in the summer. He’d be the first player to decline such a contract.
It’s obvious that Butler desires to win and craves a championship, he’s publicly made that known. He’s also in the final year of his contract. On one hand, if Butler doesn’t believe this current core can compete he may look to bolt next summer, or demand some drastic changes if he stays (perhaps shipping Towns and/or Wiggins out in the process).
On the other hand, perhaps Butler just wants to air out the laundry a bit. It seems like the rumors of poor chemistry keep cropping up because all parties are at a standoff and aren’t communicating with each other. This could simply be a way to clear the air. Of course in that scenario Towns and Wiggins should be present in the meeting, and now the rumors will only grow from here.
Whatever the case may be, all signs point to this being a pivotal point for the franchise. It’s no question that Butler helped turn the franchise around after missing the playoffs for thirteen consecutive seasons, but there’s definitely a sense that no matter what the team does it won’t be enough to satisfy Butler’s cravings. Between the perceived immaturity of Towns and Wiggins, the limited roster flexibility and the injuries piling up, Butler might not see a situation where he can achieve his goals.
One key player’s decision this summer may well have been the final nail in the coffin: LeBron James.
When LeBron moved to the Western Conference, reports quickly surfaced that Butler and Kyrie Irving would seek to team up somewhere in the Eastern Conference to fill the gaping hole James left in his wake, with New York being a possible destination. The Lakers whiffed on their efforts to add another superstar next to James and instead opted to preserve cap space for next summer and chase a superstar (or two) when the likes of Butler, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson are free agents.
Jimmy will have options next summer, that much is clear. He very well could be meeting with Thibodeau and Layden to gives them a heads up on his plans. It’s a bit late in the summer to demand a trade, but crazier things have happened. It’s clear, though, that if Butler demands a trade or alludes that he’ll leave Minnesota in July, then the team should seek to unload Butler while they can.
If that ends up being the case, there should be a handful of teams that would lineup for him, including the Lakers. The Oklahoma City Thunder showed that acquiring a player via trade can help convincing him to stay long-term, like when they got Paul George and, against all odds, kept him away from Los Angeles.
It’s been a quiet summer on the transaction front for Minnesota this summer, but the rumor mill has been steadily turning since May and now may get out of control.
This report overshadowed the devastating news Justin Patton received today as Krawczynski also noted that Patton has broken his right foot. You can read more about that here.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN chipped in with some details on the meeting in a report of his own, stating that Owner Glen Taylor is having some second-thoughts regarding Thibodeau:
“Owner Glen Taylor has significant concern with the broader franchise culture under Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden — so much so that Taylor considered changes in the offseason, league sources said. Taylor has privately second-guessed his decision to give Thibodeau full control of basketball operations as a part of hiring him as coach, league sources said.”
It’s hard to envision Thibodeau trading Butler, not only because of the deep admiration he has for Jimmy, but also he knows that his job would be in serious jeopardy after the fact. Without Butler around, what is the point of keeping a coach that clearly isn’t working too well with Towns and Wiggins? Thibs was brought on to teach a new wave of players his ‘style’ and turnaround a franchise. He hasn’t been able to reach the young players, though, and continues to undermine them by adding ‘his guys’ to supplant them in the rotation.
Thibodeau will likely do everything in his power to retain Butler, but if he fails it looks more and more like a serious changing of the guard will occur, perhaps before the end of the calendar year.
You can read the full report from Woj here.
Monday morning brought some more information on the Butler situation, this time from Shams Charania.
— Stadium (@WatchStadium) September 17, 2018
Much of this has already been whispered about, but the most interesting tidbit is the power play from Karl-Anthony Towns. Charania states that Towns won’t sign his extension until the Butler situation is resolved. It’s a bit vague, but when you put the pieces together you begin to see the light.
Towns rejecting the extension would be unprecedented for a player in his situation, but he sees an opportunity to seize control of the franchise from Thibodeau and Butler, the two people he’s been budding heads with the most.
As the clip above eloquently puts it, this is turning into a soap opera, although if you’ve been following the Wolves at all in the last year this is anything but surprising.
The meeting allegedly takes place today, look for more info to drip through as the day progresses.
August 24, 2019, 10:27 amKyle KuzmaPF, Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Kuzma (sore left ankle) will not take part in the FIBA World Cup as Team USA announces its final roster.
Kuzma sat out Team USA's final tuneup against Australia on Saturday as Marc Stein reports that he is flying back to Los Angeles to get treatment. We should still expect him to be ready for training and congrats to Mason Plumlee for making the team as many speculated that he would be the final cut.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
August 24, 2019, 8:58 amKemba WalkerPG, Boston Celtics
Walker scored 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting with four rebounds with two assists as USA Basketball had it's 78-game winning streak in tournament and exhibition games snapped on Saturday.
Walker continues to assert himself as the team's best player but USA losing to Australia was the much bigger story in this one. Harrison Barnes also played well as he chipped in 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go with six rebounds. USA will take on Canada on Monday in their last exhibition before taking on the Czech Republic in the first official match of the tournament on September 1.
August 24, 2019, 8:44 amDerrick WhitePG, San Antonio Spurs
Derrick White left Saturday’s game after tripping and hitting his head on the floor.
White left without help but there is no word yet on whether he is dealing with a concussion. He finished with eight points, hitting 6-of-7 three throws in nine minutes with another update sure to come. The third-year guard put up top-125 per-game value, playing 25.8 minutes in his second season. Even with the return of Dejounte Murray, White should still be worth a roster spot in most standard leagues.
Source: Jeff Garcia on Twitter
August 24, 2019, 8:42 amMarcus SmartPG, Boston Celtics
Marcus Smart, sidelined for almost three weeks with calf tightness, returned to action on Saturday as USA lost to Australia in their exhibition.
Smart only played nine minutes in this one but still managed to score 7 points with three assists days after being named one of the team’s co-captains. Coming off an NBA All-Defensive First Team selection, he produced top-100 per game fantasy value as it seems he may have finally fixed his shot after shooting under 40 percent from the field in his first four seasons. He also produced a career-high in both steals and triples with 1.8 and 1.6 respectively as his career seems to be on the up and up.
August 24, 2019, 8:39 amPatty MillsPG, San Antonio Spurs
Patty Mills went off in the fourth quarter and finished with 30 points as Australia beat USA 98-94.
Although it was only an exhibition, it was still a huge moment for Mills and the Australian team in front of a huge crowd as they handed the US team it's first loss since 2006. Mills was serenaded with MVP chants as Joe Ingles also played well with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting with four rebounds and seven assists while Andrew Bogut came off the bench for 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists in 20 minutes, shooting 7-of-8 from the field.
August 24, 2019, 12:37 amKyle KuzmaPF, Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Kuzma is out for Team USA's tuneup up game vs. Australia with a sore left ankle.
Kuzma is being held out of this one for precautionary reasons. There's clearly no need for USA Basketball to risk him further injuring the sore ankle. This does not sound like a serious injury and should not affect his fantasy ADP on draft day.
Source: USA Basketball on Twitter
August 23, 2019, 6:02 pmDwight HowardC, Memphis Grizzlies
Dwight Howard has agreed with the Grizzlies on a buyout, and will sign a non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers.
The Lakers are giving Howard an opportunity to be fantasy relevant. When given minutes, Dwight can produce double-doubles with the best of them, but he has been changing teams for years now. He will be worth a gamble at the end of your draft if camp with the Lakers goes well, but this is a non-guaranteed deal, and he only played nine games last season.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
August 23, 2019, 2:18 pmMarcus DerricksonPF, Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks signed Marcus Derrickson to an Exhibit 10 contract on Friday.
It looks like Derrickson will be a G-League option for the Hawks, so there's nothing to see here. At one point he was competing for the last roster spot on the team. We don't need to keep of track of every computer-generated player.
Source: Chris Vivlamore on Twitter
August 23, 2019, 11:01 amMarreese SpeightsC, Free Agent
Marreese Speights will work out for the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype.
Speights spent last year playing in China and will attempt his NBA comeback with the Lakers. who are in desperate need of an additional center. He is among three centers the Lakers are looking into, the others being Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah. Of those three, Speights unquestionably has the best floor spacing ability, which would be his strongest bet to eke out those other two for the job.
Source: Alex Kennedy on Twitter
August 23, 2019, 10:15 amTrevor BookerPF, International
Trevor Booker has worked out for the Nuggets and has workouts planned with the Bucks and Clippers, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.
Booker was out of the NBA in 2018-19, spending the season in China after he didn't get any offers in free agency. He did return to the US to undergo a procedure on his foot but is apparently fully recovered. The last time we saw Booker he split 68 games between the Nets, Sixers and Pacers in 2017-18. If he does make a successful comeback he'll have no fantasy relevance.
Source: Alex Kennedy on Twitter