Jared Butler

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Grimes, OKC, Moody, Wolves, Nuggets

The Jazz are hosting a pre-draft workout on Thursday that will includes Houston’s Quentin Grimes, Providence’s David Duke, and San Diego State’s Matt Mitchell, sources tell Tony Jones of The Athletic.

Jones categorizes it as an important session for the Jazz, who like Grimes as a potential target at No. 30 and want to get a closer look at Mitchell, who has worked out for more than 10 teams and is considered a draft riser.

Sources tell Jones that other prospects the Jazz are eyeing as possibilities at No. 30 include Nah’Shon Hyland, Ayo Dosunmu, Miles McBride, Herb Jones, Joel Ayayi from Gonzaga, Joshua Primo, and Jared Butler.

  • Arkansas wing Moses Moody visited the Thunder in Oklahoma City earlier this week, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee tweets. Moody is the 16th-ranked prospect on ESPN’s big board, so he could play be in play for OKC at No. 16 or 18 next Thursday.
  • Now that Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore have formally been approved as minority stakeholders in the Timberwolves, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic examines the challenges facing A-Rod and Lore, who will assume majority control of the franchise by 2023. As Krawczynski observes, there are similarities between the Wolves’ current situation and the one that Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan inherited in 2014 when they bought the Bucks, though it’s probably unrealistic to expect the next seven years in Minnesota to play out like the last seven in Milwaukee.
  • The Nuggets put forth a “full, all-hands-on-deck organizational effort” to ensure longtime assistant Wes Unseld Jr. got a head coaching job, Denver’s president of basketball operations Tim Connelly told Fred Katz of The Athletic. Connelly said he informed the Wizards that Unseld “is one of the brightest minds I’ve ever been around.”
  • South Carolina wing A.J. Lawson worked out today for the Nuggets, according to Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link).

Draft Notes: Butler, Duarte, Knicks, Rockets

Baylor guard Jared Butler has received medical clearance from the NBA’s Fitness to Play panel, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic. Butler, the Most Outstanding Player in this year’s Final Four, had been considered a possible mid first-round pick when the draft process began, but he was sidelined in June due to a heart condition.

Butler hasn’t been permitted to do anything on the court for the past three weeks, but he was still allowed to meet with teams and go through off-court activities such as interviews and medical exams. He met this week with executives from the Kings, who hold the ninth and 39th picks in the draft.

“I am fully healthy and cleared to play in the NBA!” Butler wrote on Twitter“Out of an abundance of care, the NBA is incredibly thorough in vetting the health of every player during the pre-Draft process and throughout our careers. I am forever grateful that their comprehensive and strict health analysis has unanimously confirmed my fitness to play in the NBA. Now, my focus is entirely on the Draft and working daily to prepare myself to fulfill my lifelong dream !!”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • Oregon’s Chris Duarte was happy with the results of Friday’s workout for the Warriors, per James Crepea of The Oregonian. Duarte, who is expected to be selected around the middle of the first round, has also visited the Wizards, Hornets, Thunder, Pelicans and Spurs. “It went great,” Duarte said of Friday’s session. “I really love it, enjoying this time here.”
  • Butler and Duarte may be possibilities for the Knicks if they hold onto the 19th and 21st picks, ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla tells Steve Serby of The New York Post. Fraschilla also mentions Kentucky center Isaiah Jackson and international prospect Usman Garuba.
  • The Rockets‘ interest in trading up for the No. 1 pick is legitimate, but they don’t have any really strong future draft choices to offer the PistonsZach Harper of the Athletic writes in his latest mock draft. Harper expects Detroit to hang on to the No. 1 selection and take Cade Cunningham, leaving Houston to decide between keeping the No. 2 choice or trading down for extra assets. Jalen Green is the expected pick, but Harper cites “people within the Rockets’ decision-making process” who are in favor of drafting Jalen Suggs.

Pacific Rumors: LeBron, Lakers, Warriors, Lillard, Kings

When LeBron James made the decision in 2018 to sign with the Lakers, there was an expectation that he’d spent the rest of his career in Los Angeles. That plan hasn’t changed, according to Jared Greenspan of The New York Post, who writes that James recently reiterated his desire to play out his career in L.A.

“I truly hope that I can finish my career with the Lakers,” LeBron said during an appearance on the SmartLess podcast. “However many years that is, if it’s four, five, six, whatever, seven. I hope I can continue to play the game. I love being in L.A. My family loves being in L.A. Being with a historical franchise like the Lakers is something.”

James will turn 37 in December, so the idea of him playing six or seven more seasons seems like a long shot. Still, there have been no indications so far that his on-court production is about to fall off a cliff. The Lakers star averaged 25.0 PPG, 7.8 APG, and 7.7 RPG on .513/.365/.698 shooting in 45 games (33.4 MPG) in 2020/21.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein has heard that – in addition to seeking more shooting this offseason – the Lakers want to acquire a “difference-making play-maker” who would allow James and Anthony Davis to spend more time at power forward and center. Stein notes that financial obstacles will likely prevent L.A. from adding such a player in free agency, but he says he wouldn’t be surprised if there are rumors this summer about the Lakers exploring ways to reacquire Lonzo Ball.
  • Within a story exploring which teams could put together the best packages for Damian Lillard, Anthony Slater of The Athletic says the Warriors have had internal discussions about pursuing the Trail Blazers guard. While it’s fun to imagine a Lillard/Stephen Curry backcourt, it’s worth taking the news with a grain of salt, since most teams have likely conducted similar talks internally — it doesn’t mean Portland will make Lillard available.
  • Baylor guard Jared Butler had dinner with Kings executives on Monday night and is visiting the team facility on Tuesday, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Due to a heart condition, Butler has been ruled ineligible – at least for now – to participate in on-court workouts, creating uncertainty about his draft status. He had been viewed as a potential mid first-round pick.

Knicks Notes: Point Guards, Thibodeau, Butler, Robinson

Finding a point guard will be an offseason priority for the Knicks, who have plenty of cap room and draft capital for their search, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. New York’s point guard situation was in shambles by the end of the playoffs, with Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina both out of the rotation and Derrick Rose slowed by a sore knee.

With close to $60MM available to spend, the Knicks can be aggressive on the free agent market. The Raptors‘ Kyle Lowry will be an option, and sources tell Berman that he has wanted to come to New York in the past. However, a long-term contract for the 35-year-old would be considered a gamble.

Lonzo Ball reportedly has interest in joining the Knicks, but he’s a restricted free agent, giving the Pelicans the right to match any offer. Another intriguing name is Spencer Dinwiddie, who might like the idea of moving across town if the Nets don’t make a sizeable offer. Dennis Schröder and Cameron Payne are also available.

If New York opts for a trade, the team has a pair of first-round picks (19 and 21) and two second-rounders (32 and 58) to offer in this year’s draft. Berman addresses the chances of acquiring Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, Kemba Walker and Jalen Brunson.

There’s more from New York City:

  • Coach Tom Thibodeau offered some insight into the Knicks’ draft plans during an appearance Friday on ESPN’s coverage of the combine, Berman adds. Thibodeau said the team wants to “add shooting — not just 3s, but off the dribble as well, wings and guys who can shoot.” He also talked about both trading up and trading out of the draft.
  • If the Knicks decide to find their next point guard through the draft, Baylor’s Jared Butler could be an option, according to Ryan Dunleavy of The New York Post. Butler, who is ranked 19th on ESPN’s list of the top 100 prospects, met with Knicks officials Thursday at the combine. “They just really tried to get to know me and pick my brain about certain situations in the game,” Butler said. “Asked about specific things about my time at Baylor, what I learned from that, and how I can translate to their team.”
  • Mitchell Robinson has been bulking up while recovering from surgery on his right foot. The Knicks tweeted a photo of him Friday at a lean 275 pounds after being listed at 240 pounds during the season.

Draft Notes: Butler, K. Johnson, Sharpe, Mocks

Baylor guard Jared Butler has been referred to a Fitness to Play panel by the NBA, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Butler won’t be able to play or practice in the league until he’s cleared. In the short term, he’s also unable to participate in on-court elements of the pre-draft process, though he can still meet with teams and conduct off-court activities (Twitter link).

While it’s unclear what aspect of Butler’s medicals caught the NBA’s attention, the league’s Fitness to Play panels typically deal with cardiac illnesses or conditions, or issues related to blood clots and other blood disorders. Hopefully this setback is just a temporary one for precautionary reasons and Butler is cleared to get back on the court soon.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

Full List Of 2021 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed via press release its list of 69 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from June 21-17.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft will opt to skip the event – most notably, presumed number one pick Cade Cunningham and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs – there are several high-profile prospects set to attend. Evan Mobley, widely considered a likely choice for the No. 2 pick as well as potential top-five picks Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green headline the class of participants this year, along with potential lottery picks Moses Moody, Corey Kispert and Scottie Barnes.

According to the press release, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills throughout the week-long event. It’s likely that the more high-profile names will focus more on the interviews than the drills.

The press release also confirms that a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp will be invited to participate in the Combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 69 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts (sophomore)
  2. Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas (junior)
  3. Marcus Bagley, F, Arizona State (freshman)
  4. Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State (freshman)
  5. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (junior)
  6. Brandon Boston Jr., G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  7. James Bouknight, G, UConn (sophomore)
  8. Greg Brown, F, Texas (freshman)
  9. Jared Butler, G, Baylor (junior)
  10. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (sophomore)
  11. Justin Champagnie, G/F, Pittsburgh (sophomore)
  12. Josh Christopher, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  13. Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn (freshman)
  14. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois (junior)
  15. David Duke, G, Providence (junior)
  16. Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  17. Luka Garza, C, Iowa (senior)
  18. RaiQuan Gray, F, Florida State (junior)
  19. Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Houston (junior)
  21. Sam Hauser, F, Virginia (senior)
  22. Aaron Henry, G/F, Michigan State (junior)
  23. Ariel Hukporti, C, Lithuania (born 2002)
  24. Matthew Hurt, F, Duke (sophomore)
  25. Nah’Shon Hyland, G, VCU (sophomore)
  26. Isaiah Jackson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  27. David Johnson, G, Louisville (sophomore)
  28. Jalen Johnson, F, Duke (freshman)
  29. Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  30. Herb Jones, F, Alabama (senior)
  31. Kai Jones, F, Texas (sophomore)
  32. Johnny Juzang, G/F, UCLA (sophomore)
  33. Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga (senior)
  34. Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  35. Scottie Lewis, G, Florida (sophomore)
  36. Isaiah Livers, F, Michigan (senior)
  37. Makur Maker, C, Howard (freshman)
  38. Sandro Mamukelashvili, F/C, Seton Hall (senior)
  39. Tre Mann, G, Florida (sophomore)
  40. Matthew Mayer, G/F, Baylor (junior)
  41. Miles McBride, G, West Virginia (sophomore)
  42. Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor (junior)
  43. Evan Mobley, F/C, USC (freshman)
  44. Isaiah Mobley, F, USC (sophomore)
  45. Moses Moody, G, Arkansas (freshman)
  46. Trey Murphy III, G, Virginia (junior)
  47. Daishen Nix, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  48. John Petty Jr., G, Alabama (senior)
  49. Yves Pons, G/F, Tennessee (senior)
  50. Jason Preston, G, Ohio (junior)
  51. Joshua Primo, G, Alabama (freshman)
  52. Roko Prkacin, F, Croatia (born 2002)
  53. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (junior)
  54. Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma (senior)
  55. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Villanova (sophomore)
  56. Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  57. Day’Ron Sharpe, F/C, North Carolina (freshman)
  58. Jericho Sims, F/C, Texas (senior)
  59. Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  60. DJ Steward, G, Duke (freshman)
  61. Cameron Thomas, G, LSU (freshman)
  62. JT Thor, F, Auburn (freshman)
  63. Isaiah Todd, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  64. Trendon Watford, F, LSU (sophomore)
  65. Joe Wieskamp, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  66. Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford (freshman)
  67. McKinley Wright IV, G, Colorado (senior)
  68. Moses Wright, F, Georgia Tech (senior)
  69. Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton (junior)

Draft Notes: Giddey, Pro Days, Combine, G League Elite Camp

Potential lottery pick Josh Giddey isn’t expected to attend the NBA draft combine in Chicago or any pre-draft workouts, tweets Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Instead, scouts will get a look at Giddey later this month when his Australian team travels to Las Vegas for exhibition games with Team USA, Spain, Nigeria and Argentina.

The 6’8″ shooting guard has been moving up draft boards and ranks No. 13 on ESPN’s latest list of prospects. Giddey, 18, played this season with the Adelaide 36ers and averaged 10.9 points, 7.1 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

Jared Butler, Others Enter 2021 NBA Draft

Ahead of Sunday’s early entry deadline, Baylor junior guard Jared Butler announced (via Twitter) that he was declaring for the 2021 NBA draft. While his announcement doesn’t explicitly state that he’s forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility, it strongly suggests he intends to go pro.

While it took a while for him to make it official, Butler was always considered a good bet to enter this year’s draft following an impressive 2020/21 campaign in which he averaged 16.7 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 2.0 SPG on .471/.416/.780 shooting in 30 games (30.3 MPG) for the eventual national champs.

A consensus first-team All-American, Butler was named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player after the Bears defeated Gonzaga in the championship game. He’s the No. 23 prospect on ESPN’s big board, making him a strong candidate to be a first-round pick in July.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Fresno State sophomore guard Deon Stroud is testing the draft waters while maintaining his NCAA eligibility, according to an announcement from the school (Twitter link). Stroud, who began his college career at UTEP, averaged 12.2 PPG on .482/.357/.613 shooting in 23 games (23.1 MPG) in 2020/21.
  • Italian wing Gabriele Procida has declared for the draft, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who tweets that the 18-year-old is a projected second-round pick.
  • Givony also published a series of tweets listing several more international players who have entered the 2021 NBA draft pool. Those players are as follows (the countries listed represent where they last played, not where they were born):
  • Since the NBA’s early entry deadline has now passed, we should get a full, official list of early entrants from the league on Tuesday. In the meantime, our unofficial tracker is here.

Jared Butler, Aaron Henry Among Prospects Withdrawing From Draft

A pair of early-entry prospects who were ranked within the top 60 on ESPN’s big board have pulled out of the draft in advance of Monday’s withdrawal deadline.

Baylor guard Jared Butler was one of those two players, announcing in a Twitter video on Monday morning that he has decided to return to the Bears for his junior year. Butler explained his decision in a conversation with ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

“After going through this process, making an important decision for the rest of my life, I truly felt like I couldn’t go wrong with either decision,” Butler said. “It came down to making the most out of my development as a player and as an adult. In the end I felt like coming back to school would set me up in both aspects in a way that I couldn’t deny. Even though the opportunity to reach my dream of playing in the NBA was readily at hand, I think next year it will still be there, possibly even with greater opportunities.”

Butler emerged as Baylor’s leading scorer in 2019/20 as a sophomore, averaging 16.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, and 1.6 SPG in 30 games (30.4 MPG). He also showed improvement on his outside shot, making 38.1% of 6.7 three-point attempts per contest. He came in at No. 46 on Givony’s top-100 list at ESPN.com, making him a strong candidate to be drafted had he decided to go pro.

Meanwhile, Michigan State swingman Aaron Henry has also decided to withdraw from the draft after testing the waters, as Givony writes in a separate story. Henry had been the No. 55 prospect on ESPN’s big board.

Henry’s numbers as a sophomore in 2019/20 were somewhat modest — 10.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 2.9 APG in 30 games (29.1 MPG). However, Givony describes him as a “long, athletic wing with strong two-way potential” and points out that he’s in position to take on a larger role for a Spartans team that won’t have Cassius Winston back next season.

“Cassius leaves big shoes to fill. He was asked to do everything for Michigan State,” Henry told ESPN. “I’m hoping to step into a bigger role with the ball in my hands. Things will definitely look different. Everyone is going to need to step up and be a piece to the puzzle. NBA teams want to see me in a bigger role. They want to see me be the man on a team. I’m not afraid of that. Let’s get to it.”

Here are a few more early entrants who tested the waters and have now pulled out of the draft ahead of Monday’s withdrawal deadline:

Draft Notes: Lee, Daly, Butler, White, Lottery

Vanderbilt junior Saben Lee has signed with Wasserman Media Group and will remain in the draft, according to Robbie Weinstein of 247Sports. He is currently ranked No. 78 overall and No. 25 among point guard prospects by ESPN. Lee was named Second Team All-SEC last season and averaged 18.6 PPG. 3.5 RPG and 4.2 APG.

We have more draft-related news:

  • Baylor’s Jared Butler, St. Joe’s Ryan Daly and Stanford’s Tyrell Terry have signed with Mike Naiditch of Beyond Athlete Management, Jeff Goodman of Goodman Hoops tweets. Naiditch is an NCAA-certified agent, which means those players are eligible to return to college. Butler is the highest-rated player among the trio as ESPN’s No. 43 overall and No. 17 among point guards.
  • Arizona State forward Romello White has entered the transfer portal while still remaining an early entrant into the draft, Doug Haller of The Athletic tweets. White averaged 10.2 PPG and 8.8 RPG in his junior year.
  • Lottery-bound teams aren’t eager to restart the season and are now in limbo, Ben Golliver of the Washington Post opines. Those teams are focused on future seasons and now have to wait on those plans since the lottery and the draft combine were postponed last week.