Danilo Gallinari

Jimmy Butler Returns To Timberwolves’ Practice

Three weeks after his trade request went public, Jimmy Butler returned to the Timberwolves‘ facility and practiced with the team today, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

While Butler’s participation in practice doesn’t necessarily mean a trade won’t happen, it’s another indication that he won’t sit out once the regular season begins next week. Of course, that was never really a realistic option for Butler, since – as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets – the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement features language that makes a holdout impractical.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Butler was vocal during today’s practice, verbally challenging coaches, teammates, and the front office, including Tom Thibodeau, Scott Layden, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins. Woj describes the 29-year-old as “vociferous and emotional at times,” adding in a second tweet that at one point, Butler screamed at Layden, “You (bleeping) need me. You can’t win without me.”

As we relayed earlier today, the Timberwolves reached back out to the Rockets on Tuesday, and the Heat remain interested in rekindling talks with Minnesota, so those trade discussions figure to continue. However, reports throughout the process have indicated that Thibodeau would prefer to see Butler start the season with the Wolves. That scenario appears increasingly plausible now that the All-NBA wing is practicing with his teammates again, though perhaps the obvious tension in practice will make Thibodeau reconsider his stance.

Here are a few more of the latest notes on Butler:

  • Besides their discussions with the Heat, the Timberwolves have had no “serious, active talks” with any other team about Butler, league sources tell Wojnarowski.
  • According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, the Nets have been “timid” in their approach toward pursuing Butler, and have made Caris LeVert unavailable. Deveney also confirms that the Clippers are unwilling to include Tobias Harris in any offers, having instead proposed deals headlined by Danilo Gallinari or some combination of other players, such as Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic, and others.
  • Some league executives who spoke to Deveney expressed reservations about Butler’s potential locker room fit. “As good as Jimmy is, I think you have to be concerned about the impact he is going to have in the locker room, on your younger guys, on your coaching staff, all of that,” one general manager said. “He has gotten the benefit of the doubt, but if you look at his history, he’s had trouble getting along in Chicago and now in Minnesota. Everywhere he goes, it becomes about Jimmy, and if you’re going to bring him in, you have to account for that.”
  • Earlier today, we passed along details on the Timberwolves‘ discussions with the Rockets.

Pacific Notes: Mykhailiuk, Warriors, Gallinari, Kings

The Lakers were “terrified” that Kansas sharpshooter Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk would be gone before they could draft him in the second round, owner Jeanie Buss tells Mike Trudell of NBA.com. L.A. acquired the 39th pick from the Sixers, but opted for German guard Isaac Bonga at that spot. Mykhailiuk was still on the board when they picked again at No. 47.

“We felt like he was basically a first-round talent,” Buss said. “We were surprised he was there at 39, and much more surprised he was there at 47.”

Mykhailiuk showed why the Lakers value him so highly with his performance in the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 16.6 PPG in seven games and earning second team all-league honors. The Lakers signed him to a three-year deal last month worth about $4.6MM.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors have several options if they can’t reach a deal with restricted free agent Patrick McCaw, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Golden State made a $1.74MM qualifying offer in June that now can’t be pulled without McCaw’s consent. If the second-year shooting guard finds a better deal elsewhere and the Warriors choose not to match, Poole outlines the team’s alternatives, which include re-signing veteran guard Nick Young. Other possibilities are Corey Brewer, Jamal Crawford, Josh Huestis or if he can get medical clearance, Chris Bosh.
  • Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari looked good in the NBA Africa Game, but he won’t be playing for Italy in a pair of upcoming FIBA qualifying contests, tweets Italian journalist Davide Chinellato. “After consulting with the Clippers, medical staff and my agent, the conclusion has been made that it is best to stay in the U.S. in preparation for the upcoming NBA season, rather than participate in these international games,” said Gallinari, who finished last season with a fractured right hand. “I am excited to take on a leadership role with this team and to have a strong start going into training camp.”
  • Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley III could give the Kings a pair of contenders for Rookie of the Year honors, notes Noel Harris of The Sacramento Bee. No Sacramento rookie has claimed the trophy since Tyreke Evans in 2010.

And-Ones: 2019 FAs, MVP Odds, Oldest Vets

An ESPN panel was asked where they think some of the top-projected free agents of 2019 might end up next summer. The results were interesting, with the panel making a prediction for five players: Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson.

As we explored earlier this summer, both Irving and Butler have reportedly expressed interested in playing together, and the panel obviously took that into consideration, predicting both players to suit up for the Knicks next season. However, the Celtics were a close second for Irving.

Interestingly, the Lakers were the second-highest voted selection for both Butler and Thompson, and the first-place selection for Leonard by a wide-margin. Meanwhile, both Thompson and Durant are projected to return to the Warriors.

We have more from around the league:

Pacific Notes: Kings, Clippers, Lakers

The Kings added to their glut of big men when they drafted power forward Marvin Bagley with the second pick of the 2018 draft. Now, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area writes, head coach Dave Joerger will have to figure out how to juggle the frontcourt rotation.

Given his stature as one of the top picks in the summer draft, Bagley is a lock to play significant minutes for the Kings. He could see time at both the four and the five.

Ham writes that Harry Giles, a first-rounder in 2017, could see major minutes in his first taste of NBA action as well. The big man may have to shake off rust after sitting out last year to fully recover from knee injuries, but could be part of the Kings’ starting frontcourt of the future.

There’s more from the Pacific Division this evening:

  • A batch of coaching changes demonstrate the Clippers‘ franchise-wise commitment toward player development, Tomer Azarly of the team’s official site writes. The club will have Casey Hill join Doc Rivers’ staff after serving last year as the head coach of the team’s G League squad. Brian Adams will take his place with the Ontario affiliate and Natalie Nakase will move from the G League to big league squad’s development staff.
  • Clippers‘ forward Danilo Gallinari will ask the team to let him play for the Italian national club in September, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes. Gallinari was limited to just 21 games last season due to a fractured hand but appears to be healthy this summer.
  • A panel of ESPN staffers has concluded that the team that added the greatest basketball player of his generation will have the biggest turnaround this season. Alas, LeBron JamesLakers are also expected to suffer from the most team turmoil, according to ESPN’s panel.

L.A. Notes: James, Deng, Gallinari, Barnes

LeBron James has expressed interest in being part of a future NBA Africa game, writes Lindsay du Plessis of ESPN, which would make him the biggest star ever to participate. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the possibility in a news conference prior to today’s contest.

“Both Amadou [Gallo Fall, NBA managing director for Africa] and I have spoken directly to LeBron James, and he has stated that he would very much like to come to Africa and be part of the game,” Silver said. “I will say on his behalf that he has an extraordinarily complicated schedule, even in the offseason, and he is someone who, for the last eight years, has played in the NBA finals. So his season has gone from September to late June, so he has a very short break. During those summers he also often plays for the national team, Olympic Games, things like that.”

Silver added that the African experience, which includes several days of volunteer work as part of Basketball Without Borders, is high on James’ list of priorities and he expressed confidence that the Lakers star will be part of the game in the future.

There’s more NBA news from Los Angeles:

  • Luol Deng got a rare chance to show off his skills in today’s NBA Africa game and responded with 14 points, three steals and three rebounds, notes Mike Trudell of NBA.com. Deng played on opening night last season, then never got into another game as the Lakers devoted more minutes to their younger players. Deng, 33, is a two-time All-Star, but has become a salary cap problem for the Lakers with two seasons and $36.81MM left on his contract.
  • Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari looked fully healthy in capturing MVP honors in the game, writes Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report. Gallinari, who was limited to 21 games last season because of injuries and finished the season with a fractured right hand, hit nine of 10 shots and scored 23 points in leading the World Team to victory.
  • Matt Barnes blames “egos” for the Clippers‘ failure to advance past the second round of the playoffs when they had a core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, relays Kurt Helin of NBC Sports. Barnes made the remarks in an appearance on AM 570 L.A. Sports, saying the team lacked the “mental toughness” to put together a championship run.

L.A. Notes: Gallinari, Kalamian, Berry, Kobe

After being slowed by injuries throughout last season, Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari has proclaimed himself healthy as he prepares for this weekend’s NBA Africa Game, relays Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Hand and glute issues limited Gallinari to 21 games in his first season with the Clippers after being acquired in an offseason trade. It’s a familiar story for Gallinari, who has only reached 70 games in a season twice in his career.

“Of course I will play. I got to show you some of the Gallo magic,” Gallinari joked in Wednesday’s conference call with reporters. “Yeah, yeah, everything is good. I’m very excited. I’m healthy now, body is good. So I can’t wait to start.”

Gallinari still has two years remaining on a three-year, $65MM deal he signed prior to a three-team trade that brought him from Denver to L.A. last summer. He will make $21,587,579 this season and $22,615,559 in 2019/20 with no team or player option on the final year. Gallinari fractured his right hand late in the season, but says it has fully healed.

There’s more this morning from Los Angeles:

  • Former Raptors assistant Rex Kalamian has officially joined the Clippers‘ coaching staff, the team announced on its website. Kalamian, who broke into the NBA as a scout with the Clippers in 1992, worked under Dwane Casey in Toronto for the past three years. L.A. also promoted G League coach Casey Hill to an assistant role with the NBA team.
  • Lakers guard Joel Berry has a huge goal for a player who wasn’t drafted. In an interview with Drew Ruiz of Hoops Hype, Berry said he hopes to be among the contenders for Rookie of the Year and talks about the feeling of being passed over on draft night. “It was pretty tough,” he recalled. “It’s always a dream to hear your name get called, but honestly, I’ve always taken the path where I was always overlooked and my game is not the flashiest – I just win – and that speaks more than being a flashy player.”
  • Kobe Bryant‘s wife is quashing any speculation that he might be thinking of a comeback, according to Alysha Tsuji of USA Today. Shaquille O’Neal sparked rumors of a return in a TMZ interview over the weekend, but Vanessa Bryant made it clear that it won’t happen. “Kobe will not be coming out of retirement to play again,” she wrote on Instagram. “He doesn’t want to play again and frankly we really enjoy spending time together as a family without the crazy game schedule interfering with birthdays, holidays and special events.”

And-Ones: Wanamaker, Jeanne, Crawford, G League

The Celtics are giving strong consideration to signing Euroleague star Brad Wanamaker, international basketball journalist David Pick tweets. Wanamaker, the MVP of the Turkish finals with Fenerbahce, is a 28-year-old, 6’4” shooting guard who went undrafted in 2011. He has spent most of his pro career overseas, though he had a stint in 2012 with the G League’s Austin Toros. The Magic, Nets, Sixers and Heat have also expressed interest in him, according to Pick. However, Wanamaker has a $3.8MM contract with Barcelona that runs through 2020, so he may stay in Europe, Pick adds in another tweet.

In other news on the domestic and international front:

  • Jonathan Jeanne, who was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, has been cleared by his doctor to play, his agent told Sportando. Jeanne, a 7’1” center from France, was considered a potential first-round prospect before the diagnosis was made last June. He went undrafted and now will explore all international possibilities, Sportando adds.
  • Veteran guard Jamal Crawford is looking for the best fit in free agency after deciding to opt out, he told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Crawford insisted he wasn’t unhappy with the Timberwolves, despite leaving $4.5MM on the table. “For me, it’s just fit. I don’t think anything’s wrong (in Minnesota),” Crawford told Krawczynski. “There’s nothing wrong that’s not wrong anywhere else. It’s the NBA. Everybody’s not going to get along every second. That’s not realistic.”
  • The G League Expansion Draft will be held August 22, tweets 2 Ways & 10 Days. The only team utilizing the draft is the Capital City Go-Go, the new affiliate of the Wizards.
  • How does a swap of Chander Parsons and the Grizzlies’ picks at No. 4 and No. 32 for the Clippers’ lottery picks at No. 12 and No. 13 plus Danilo Gallinari sound? ESPN’s Insiders throws out a number of trade scenarios heading into the draft.
  • Longtime NBA coach Larry Brown officially signed his contract to coach Fiat Torino in Italy, Sportando relays.

And-Ones: NBA Africa Game, Global Camp, Upshaw

Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan and Sixers center Joel Embiid will headline the rosters in this summer’s NBA Africa Game, the league announced today. The event, which will take place on Saturday, August 4 in Pretoria, South Africa, will feature a Team Africa vs. Team World format, with Cameroon native Embiid heading Team Africa and DeRozan representing Team World.

Joining Embiid on Team Africa will be fellow NBAers Al-Farouq Aminu, Bismack Biyombo, Cheick Diallo, Evan Fournier, Serge Ibaka, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and Pascal Siakam. DeRozan’s teamates on Team World will include Harrison Barnes, Danilo Gallinari, Rudy Gay, Khris Middleton, and Hassan Whiteside.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the basketball world:

  • A total of 40 draft-eligible prospects from outside the United States will take part in the NBA Global Camp 2018 in Treviso, Italy from June 2-5, the NBA announced on Wednesday. While Luka Doncic won’t attend the pre-draft showcase, there will be plenty of prospects worth watching, including Cedevita forward Dzanan Musa, who is the No. 19 prospect on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com.
  • The mother of Zeke Upshaw, the G League player who passed away earlier this year after collapsing during a Grand Rapids Drive game, has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the NBA and the Pistons of negligence. The suit alleges that the defendants failed to provide the Drive with the “the resources, policies, and procedures reasonably necessary” to prevent or handle Upshaw’s collapse. Noah Trister of The Associated Press has the full story and more details.
  • Now that two-way contracts have been in effect for nearly a full year, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days explores what sort of changes we may see to the rules surrounding those contracts in the future.

Gallinari Says Broken Hand Still Hasn’t Healed

Nearly a month after the regular season ended, Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari is still waiting for his broken right hand to fully heal, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Gallinari offered an update on the injury during a recent interview with the Italian website Gazzetta.it.

“My right hand is not healed yet,” he said. “I visited some specialists in the USA and now I will do the same in Italy. I rule out the surgery for the moment, but I have to understand better how to recover.”

Gallinari was sidelined for 18 games after suffering the injury in March. He returned late in the season to try to help with the Clippers’ playoff push, but aggravated the condition during a fall in an April game.

He managed just 21 games in his first season after being traded to L.A. He is signed for about $21.6MM next season and $22.6MM in 2019/20.

Pacific Notes: Thomas, Hayes, Offseason, Gallinari

Isaiah Thomas has returned to Los Angeles to proceed with his post-hip surgery rehab and he remains engaged with the Lakers, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes. Even though the soon-to-be free agent may never suit up for the team again, the Lakers will make their facilities available to Thomas for his rehab.

Head coach Luke Walton spoke highly of Thomas and the relationship he maintains with teammates — even teammates who he played with briefly due to injury.

“From what I know of him he’s very team-oriented,” Walton said. “His teammates have always loved him, he loves his teammates.”

Thomas appeared in 17 games with the Lakers, averaging 15.6 PPG and 5.0 APG. A troublesome hip ended Thomas’ season in the playoffs last year and delayed the start of his current season before sidelining him earlier this month.

Check out more Pacific Division notes below:

  • Nigel Hayes has had an adventurous 2017/18 season, which included a standout year in the G League with two teams, three separate 10-day contracts, and finally, a guaranteed deal with the Kings. As Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes, Hayes is excited to join the team and head coach Dave Joerger wants to find playing time for him. “That’s all you can ask for is an opportunity,” Hayes said. “In the talks my agent had with the organization, it was a great place for me to try to showcase what I can do, an opportunity to play in NBA games, play on a team to see what I can do to help contribute to a winning culture.”
  • In an in-depth piece, Bobby Marks of ESPN Insider (subscription required) looks ahead to the Kings‘ offseason, Marks breaks down the team’s potential free agent targets, draft picks, and salary cap breakdown.
  • As we relayed earlier this week, the Clippers do not expect to have Danilo Gallinari back during the regular season, which could spell the end of an injury-plagued first season with Los Angeles.