Northwest Notes: Butler, Lillard, Durant, Exum

7:05pm: Butler told Jabari Young of (Twitter link) that he would “love to be in Portland with the Blazers.”

1:21pm: Butler is no longer in the mix for Portland, a source tells Quick (Twitter link). The Blazers are prioritizing young players or guys with favorable contracts who have upside, Quick writes in the same tweet.

12:59pm: With their new-found cap space, the Blazers are interested in veteran forward Rasual Butler, reports Jason Quick of The Oregonian. The 36-year-old has been offered a contract, according to an unidentified source, but is not rushing to sign. He reportedly has interest from other teams, including the Spurs and Warriors. Butler, a 13-year NBA veteran, averaged 7.7 points and 2.6 rebounds with the Wizards last season. Portland, which is $26MM under the cap, has not reached out to free agent Gerald Green, Quick adds.

There’s more news from the Northwest Division:

  • The BlazersDamian Lillard made several unsuccessful attempts to set up a meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge last week, reports Sam Amick of USA Today. Lillard tried to schedule something before leaving on a promotional trip to Paris, but Aldridge’s schedule was already filled with team meetings. They exchanged text messages, but Lillard knew by Friday night that Aldridge was leaving Portland.
  • The Thunder’s Kevin Durant will be the focus of next year’s free agent frenzy, but he tells Andy Vasquez of The Record that he has more immediate concerns. Multiple foot surgeries limited Durant to 27 games last year, and his goal is to be ready for next season. “I hear it all the time,” Durant said of free agency, “but I’m really just focusing on rehab and I can’t get there unless I take care of today.”
  • Durant is entering “Phase 3” of rehab and expects to be fully cleared for game action by August, writes Royce Young of “We’re doing X-rays every two weeks, and it’s looking good,” he said. “So I’m excited to get back, man. There’s no pain, and looking forward to getting back.”
  • Jazz coach Quin Snyder has turned down several suggested trades involving Dante Exum, according to Jody Genessy of The Deseret News. “I believe in him,” Snyder told Utah GM Dennis Lindsey. “I believe in his makeup.” Exum struggled through his rookie season, especially with his shot, but team officials are seeing improvements in his game since he returned from his native Australia.
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