Caron Butler Rumors
March 1 at 9:35am CST By Luke Adams
The trade deadline may be behind us, but that doesn't mean Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities won't continue checking in with his weekly Scoops column on Fridays. Wolfson still has a handful of Timberwolves-related notes to pass along, so let's check them out....
- Louis Amundson told FOX Sports Florida that the Timberwolves nearly traded him and Luke Ridnour to the 76ers for Spencer Hawes, but a source close to one of those players tells Wolfson that's "not true." Still, as Wolfson has previously reported, the Sixers did talk to Minnesota about Ridnour and J.J. Barea.
- Given how heavily the T-Wolves shopped Ridnour and Barea prior to the deadline, one of them will be moved this summer, says Wolfson.
- One source tells Wolfson to expect the Wolves to pursue a trade for Caron Butler in the summer. Butler, who will be entering the final year of his contract next year, was nearly sent to the Wizards on deadline day.
- Nemanja Bjelica, the 35th overall pick in the 2010 draft, is likely to come over to the NBA next season, a source tells Wolfson. Bjelica, whose rights the Wolves hold, signed a five-year contract with Spanish club Caja Laboral in 2010, but the deal included an NBA opt-out.
February 25 at 11:56am CST By Luke Adams
We're four days removed from this year's trade deadline, but reports of near-deals continue to trickle in. According to TNT's David Aldridge in his weekly Morning Tip piece for NBA.com, one deal that was seriously discussed prior to the deadline would have sent Caron Butler to the Wizards and Trevor Ariza to the Clippers.
Aldridge reports that the two teams had "a done deal" on Wednesday night and would have swapped small forwards had it not been for Clippers owner Donald Sterling. According to Aldridge, Sterling was hesitant about any move that might affect the team's chemistry down the stretch, and nixed the trade.
From a cap perspective, the proposed deal wouldn't have made a huge impact for either team. Butler is earning $8MM this season and another $8MM next season, while Ariza is making $7.26MM this season, with a $7.73MM player option for 2013/14. On the court, Ariza would have provided the Clippers a defensive-minded wing to guard players like Kevin Durant in the playoffs, while Butler, who still has a home in the D.C. area, would have returned to the Wizards as a "much-needed offensive option," writes Aldridge.
While the deal makes some sense from both sides, Aldridge suggests that Sterling and the Clippers were reluctant to make a deal that could have been held against the club by free-agent-to-be Chris Paul in any way if the team doesn't advance deep into the postseason.
In addition to working on a potential Butler/Ariza swap, the Clippers looked into making a trade for Kevin Garnett, but the veteran Celtics big man was reportedly unwilling to waive his no-trade clause to approve a deal to Los Angeles.
February 16 at 4:47pm CST By Chuck Myron
4:47pm: Though he made comments indicating he would welcome Garnett to L.A., Chris Paul said he's not pushing the Clippers to make the deal, notes USA Today's Sam Amick.
4:22pm: Garnett has not ruled out accepting a trade to Los Angeles, a source tells Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. The Clippers, who began their efforts to land Garnett with the Bledsoe-Butler package more than two weeks ago, have always been willing to increase their price, Deveney writes.
3:42pm: Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe hears the teams have not discussed Garnett, and that the Clippers don't want to approach the luxury tax line (Twitter link). The Clippers are about $1MM shy of the $70.307MM tax threshold, but acquiring Garnett for Jordan and Bledsoe would save the team money. The other version of the deal, sending out Green, Turiaf and Butler, would likely make the Clippers a taxpayer.
2:51pm: Though Garnett has said he won't waive his no-trade clause under any circumstances, the Clippers are confident they can persuade him to come to L.A. if the Celtics tell him it's a deal they want to make, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
SATURDAY, 10:45am: Sean Deveney of the Sporting News tweets that the Clippers' primary incentive to do the trade is Del Negro's belief that Jordan isn't a championship-caliber center. He writes that the team discussed the possibility of trading for Anderson Varejao before the Cavs' big man's season-ending injury.
FRIDAY, 12:53am: Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro would be willing to do the deal, but the team's front office is "totally against the move," according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. Clippers executives would prefer to send out Willie Green, Ronny Turiaf and Caron Butler for Garnett (Twitter links).
12:11am: The Celtics and Clippers have been in consistent contact about a trade that would send Kevin Garnett to L.A. for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan, report Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Factions within both teams are debating whether the deal would be the best course of action. This appears to be the latest incarnation of a proposal that would have sent Bledsoe and Caron Butler to Boston for Garnett.
After that rumor surfaced a couple of weeks ago, we heard that Garnett would not waive his no-trade clause unless he was dealt to L.A., which is close to his home in Malibu, Calif., and also unless the Celtics also traded Paul Pierce. While no Pierce trade appears imminent, sources tell Wojnarowski and Spears that Garnett's close relationship with Clippers guard Chauncey Billups could help coax him into accepting the swap.
The Clippers have been reluctant to deal Bledsoe without knowing what Chris Paul will do in free agency this summer, but the team's front office is becoming increasingly confident Paul will re-sign, according to the Yahoo! report. Many within the organization believe Garnett would strengthen the team's title hopes, which explains the team's pursuit. It appears that the Clippers initiated talks of the earlier Garnett-Bledsoe-Butler proposal.
Wojnarowski and Spears point out that acquiring Bledsoe would allow the Celtics to deal away Rajon Rondo without getting a point guard in return, and earlier tonight a report surfaced about a potential Rondo/Dwight Howard swap. As I wrote then, it appears Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is aggressively pursuing his options as Thursday's trade deadline nears. Ainge has reportedly been looking for something to get "really, really excited about" in any deal for Garnett, and it's unclear whether Bledsoe and Jordan would be enough to satisfy that requirement.
From a salary perspective, the deal works out well for the Celtics. It would only add $674,432K to the team's salary, leaving about $2MM under Boston's $74.307MM hard cap, plenty of room to pursue another player to fill out the team's injury-depleted roster. Jordan's four-year, $43MM contract includes a 15% trade kicker, but because it was signed after the league's current CBA went into effect, the Clippers would have to absorb the extra money if they trade their center, and not the team that acquires him.
February 14 at 12:02pm CST By Luke Adams
Already today, we've passed along a few trade rumors from Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game and Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld. Now, it's Chris Broussard's turn, as the ESPN reporter has published a lengthy Insider-only piece on the latest rumblings from around the league. Here's what Broussard has for us:
- The Hornets have made some calls to gauge Eric Gordon's trade value, but Broussard hears that there's less than a 10% chance he's moved within the next week. The Mavericks, Rockets, and the Warriors are among the clubs believed to have inquired on Gordon.
- The Rockets still figure to make a run at Dwight Howard this summer, but Andrew Bynum and perhaps a trade for Gordon are the team's Plan Bs. Since Houston is saving its cap space for the summer, the club isn't expected to be too active at the trade deadline.
- Indiana will likely keep Danny Granger through the deadline, but is willing to move Tyler Hansbrough, D.J. Augustin, or Gerald Green. The Pacers dangled Hansbrough and Augustin when talking to the Magic about J.J. Redick, but Orlando didn't have interest.
- Three different general managers told Broussard on Wednesday that Danny Ferry and the Hawks have decided not to re-sign Josh Smith this summer and are trying hard to trade him this week. Rival executives don't expect Ferry to settle for the Nets' offer of Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks, however.
- The Hawks have also discussed moving Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow.
- Teams have been calling the Suns, one of the league's most active clubs, about Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, and Jared Dudley. A deal with the Knicks involving Dudley and Iman Shumpert is "not happening," according to Broussard's sources.
- As has been the case for many reporters over the last few weeks, Broussard has received mixed reports on whether the Jazz are more likely to trade Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson. The Trail Blazers are one team that likes Millsap, says Broussard.
- A few executives that have spoken to Broussard have mentioned the possibility of the Clippers trying to trade DeAndre Jordan and Caron Butler to create the necessary cap space to make a play for Dwight Howard this summer. That one sounds awfully far-fetched to me though, considering the team would have to make additional moves to clear enough room, and would have to acquire only expiring contracts in return. Even then, there's no guarantee they could land Howard as a free agent.
February 4 at 10:23pm CST By Luke Adams
A report from the Sporting News yesterday indicated that the Clippers and Celtics had engaged in talks about a possible Kevin Garnett trade. Even with Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger out for the year, a Garnett trade appears unlikely, considering he negotiated a no-trade clause into his most recent contract in hopes of retiring as a Celtic. Still, a couple more updates relating to the Clippers/C's rumor surfaced since yesterday, so we'll round those up right here:
- Garnett will not waive his no trade clause unless Paul Pierce is also dealt, a source tells Shaun Powell of Sports On Earth (on Twitter). Even then, he would only give his consent to a deal that puts him in Los Angeles since he lives in Malibu. That would mean a deal to the Clippers and not the Lakers since there's no match for a deal there.
- According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, the Clippers aren't pursuing Garnett and haven't even had any conversations with the Celtics' front office about a potential deal that would include Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler.
- There's nothing happening between the Clippers and Celtics at the moment, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. In a second tweet, Shelburne clarifies that she's not ruling out the possibility entirely, but there's no current progress.
- The Clippers' stance on trades, involving Garnett or anyone else, dictates that a deal would have to make sense for both now and the future, says Shelburne (via Twitter).
- According to Paul Flannery of SBNation.com, the Garnett trade rumor was floated from the Clippers' side, rather than the Celtics'. It would take more than Bledsoe and Butler to pique Boston's interest, and even then there's no guarantee KG would waive his no-trade clause, writes Flannery.
February 3 at 12:33pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Clippers have reached out to the Celtics about trading for Kevin Garnett, and any offer would include Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler, sources tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link). Deveney cautions, via Twitter, that the Celtics haven't decided yet whether to break up their core, but it appears they'll have at least one option if they decide to do so. Ric Bucher reported earlier this week that some GMs would be reluctant to trade for Garnett, fearing he may retire before his contract is up in 2015, even if Garnett might not be quite ready to hang it up at the end of this season.
Garnett is one of four players who negotiated no-trade clauses into their contracts, so he'd have to approve any deal. A swap of Garnett for Bledsoe and Butler would work for salary-matching purposes, but I'm not sure the Celtics, with Rajon Rondo in the middle of a team-friendly deal, would have interest in a package headlined by an up-and-coming point guard. Bledsoe would fill the void left while Rondo recovers from his ACL injury, but the Celtics would have a decision to make either this summer, when Bledsoe is up for an extension on his rookie deal, or next, when he's set to become a restricted free agent. Rondo, like Garnett, is signed through 2015. Butler makes $8MM this season and next, so his presence wouldn't do much to help the Celtics clear cap space.
The Clippers' proposal makes much more sense from their end. Garnett would provide veteran leadership for a team looking to make unprecedented strides in the playoffs. He'd strengthen a front line that includes Blake Griffin, and he would probably see fewer minutes than he's getting in Boston with DeAndre Jordan and Lamar Odom around in Los Angeles. A reduced role may fit the bill for the 36-year-old Garnett, whose aging legs prompted the concern from league executives that Bucher passed along.
January 11 at 3:46pm CST By Luke Adams
In Hoops Rumors' live chat yesterday, I picked Rudy Gay as the biggest name I think will be on the move before this year's trade deadline. With nearly six weeks still remaining until February 21st arrives, I don't expect anything to be finalized soon, but that doesn't mean the rumors aren't continuing to swirl around Gay. Here's the latest:
- Sam Amick of USA Today adds a new team to the mix for Gay: the Clippers. According to Amick, a package that includes Caron Butler, Eric Bledsoe, and picks could provide exactly what the Grizzlies are seeking. The Clippers are "justifiably wary" of making a move that would affect their chemistry, and are reportedly not looking to move Bledsoe before the deadline, but the club would at least consider Gay, says Amick.
- The Nuggets, Kings, and Rockets, three teams that have been mentioned as potential suitors, don't appear to have any interest in Gay at the moment, according to Amick.
May 14 at 3:24pm CST By Luke Adams
Let's check out some odds and ends from around the Association as we prepare for a pair of second-round playoff games in Boston and Oklahoma City....
- Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com reports that the following players have been named to the U.S. select team, which will scrimmage against the Olympic roster this July: Klay Thompson, Jeremy Lin, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Kawhi Leonard, DeJuan Blair, Ryan Anderson, Taj Gibson and Derrick Favors. We'd previously heard that Kyrie Irving, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and DeMar DeRozan would be part of the squad.
- With the Clippers and Spurs preparing to face off in round two, Caron Butler tells reporters, including Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, that he very nearly signed with the Spurs in December (Twitter link).
- The Heat announced today that Chris Bosh has a strained abdominal muscle and will be out indefinitely (Twitter link). Bosh's comments to the media today indicated that he's not expecting to return during the Pacers series (Twitter link).
- Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler would like to become a bigger offensive threat for the Knicks next season, as Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com writes.
April 30 at 8:57am CST By Luke Adams
One Los Angeles team took a comfortable lead into the fourth quarter yesterday, while the other faced a 21-point deficit. Both clubs ended up with Game One wins though, as the Lakers cruised to a 15-point victory over the Nuggets and the Clippers came back in dramatic fashion to top the Grizzlies 99-98. As the two teams prepare for Game Two of their respective series, let's check in on a few updates out of Los Angeles....
- The Lakers were willing to part with Andrew Bynum at the trade deadline in a deal for Dwight Howard, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. However, the Lakers wanted an assurance that D12 would sign a long-term extension, and he wouldn't give it, according to Wojnarowski.
- In a separate piece, Wojnarowski writes about how Clippers GM Neil Olshey's decision to trade for Chris Paul continues to pay dividends. Within the column, Wojnarowski says Olshey never considered firing coach Vinny Del Negro this season.
- The Clippers' miraculous comeback victory in Memphis came at a price: Caron Butler fractured his left hand and could miss four to six weeks, according to a Reuters report. There's been no official word from the team yet on how long Butler will be out, but it's possible we won't see him again this season.
February 18 at 2:00pm CST By Chuck Myron
They lacked the sizzle of the LeBron James-led summer of 2010 group, but the 2011 class of free agents still included some accomplished veterans capable of making an impact. With a week left before the All-Star break, let’s take a look at some of the top free agents to change addresses and evaluate the initial returns for their new teams.
- Power forward David West signed a two-year, $20MM deal with the Pacers after tearing the ACL in his left knee late last season with the Hornets. The injury allowed Indiana to snap up the two-time All-Star at a relative bargain, considering he’s averaged at least 18 PPG and 7.5 RPG for five years straight. They’ve been judicious in his use, giving him about 30 minutes a night, the least amount of playing time he’s seen since he became a full-time starter in 2005/06. He’s also getting about two fewer shots per 36 minutes, which helps explain his anemic 12.5 PPG this year. He’s making up for it in other areas. His rebounding per 36 minutes (8.2) is as high as it’s been since ‘07/’08, and he’s been more aggressive on defense, coming away with a steal every 36 minutes, as high a rate as he’s ever posted. The most significant endorsement of the signing is seen in the standings, where the Pacers, who sneaked into the playoffs at 37-45 last year, are 18-12 despite losing six of their last eight.
- When the Knicks signed center Tyson Chandler to a four-year, $55.4MM deal, they envisioned him turning around their defense just as he had done in leading the Mavericks to the 2011 title. New York is giving up just 93.9 points a night after surrendering 105.7 per game last season, but that could be attributed as much to their slowed pace as to Chandler’s presence. Still, he’s averaging a steal per game, which he’s never done, and 1.3 blocks, his most since ‘06/’07. The surprise has been Chandler’s offense. He’s leading the league with a 70.3% field goal percentage, and averaging 11.7 PPG, a tick away from his career high. His greatest contribution may be his health on an otherwise banged-up Knicks team. He has started all 31 games New York has played this season, an auspicious sign for someone whose failed physical scuttled a trade to Oklahoma City three years ago.
- The Blazers were looking for offensive punch in the wake of Brandon Roy’s untimely retirement, and so they turned to Jamal Crawford, signing him to a two-year deal worth more than $10MM that includes a player option for next year. Crawford remade himself into an instant-offense bench player in Atlanta the last two seasons after several years spent mostly as a starter on lottery teams in Chicago, New York and Golden State. He won the sixth-man award in 2010, averaging 18.0 PPG, but that average dropped to 14.2 PPG last year. He’s shot more often in fewer minutes in Portland this season, but a paltry 38.6% field goal percentage is keeping him at 14.5 PPG. He’s giving them some minutes at backup point guard, though he’s primarily a shooting guard, and most of his value can be measured in his scoring numbers. His salary is roughly half of what he was making in Atlanta, but unless he can return to his 2010 form, he won’t be able to claim he’s underpaid.
- The Clippers’ signing of Caron Butler took a backseat to the more ballyhooed trade for Chris Paul and defiant waiver claim of Chauncey Billups, but it’s had a major impact on the sudden rise of L.A.’s “other team.” He’s giving the Clippers a level of production that’s similar to what he was giving Dallas last season before going down with a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee. That helps justify the three-year, $24MM deal they gave him that approaches what he was making on his last contract. He’s averaging 15.0 PPG and 3.9 rebounds, and kicking in 1.2 steals every night. The major change in his game has been three-point shooting. He’s taking 5.5 three-pointers every night, almost three times his career average. He’s shooting 37.5% on those bombs, trailing the 43.1% rate he made in much fewer attempts last season, but it still gives the Clippers an outside threat that’s even more valuable now that Chauncey Billups is done for the year. Moving him away from the basket has led to his career-low rebounding numbers, but with Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Reggie Evans and now Kenyon Martin around, the Clippers shouldn’t hurt for boards.
- Coming off a season in which he averaged career lows in points, rebounds and assists (14.0/3.8/2.0), Vince Carter’s value was greatly reduced. Due to be paid $18MM this year, the Suns exercised their right to buy him out for $4MM shortly after the lockout ended. Carter wound up latching on with Dallas for the taxpayer mid-level exception at $3MM a year. If you assess him based on the value of his current contract, and not the 25-points-a-game star he was in Toronto and New Jersey, he’s been a worthwhile bargain so far. He’s taken over as the starting two-guard and provided a much needed scoring threat as Dirk Nowitzki has rounded into shape. He’s not asked to carry too much of a load, but since he returned after missing five games with a sprained left foot, he’s scored in double figures in nine of 12 games, including back-to-back 21-point efforts against the Spurs and Suns.