Jared Butler

Northwest Notes: Butler, Gay, Zeller, Palacio

Jared Butler has been the talk of the Jazz‘s training camp but he’ll have to exercise patience when it comes to playing time, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune writes. The 40th pick of the draft won’t immediately take backcourt minutes away from Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson or Joe Ingles.

“For Jared, part of it is patience. You can be really competitive and hungry, and still be patient,” coach Quin Snyder said. “When I say ‘patience,’ it’s a little bit like preparing for when an opportunity presents itself for you to have an impact. … Invariably there’s injuries, there’s foul trouble. Continuing to work and be hungry and not be frustrated if it doesn’t come right away [is important].”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Jazz forward Rudy Gay underwent offseason surgery on his right heel, Walden tweets. It was previously reported that the surgery was done on his left heel. Gay is still working his way back from the surgery and isn’t expected to be ready for opening night.
  • Trail Blazers center Cody Zeller will undergo nasal surgery on Friday, Jason Quick of The Athletic tweets. Zeller was inadvertently hit in the face by the Warriors’ Andre Iguodala in Monday’s preseason opener. Doctors tried to reset it, but his nose was “crushed,” according to coach Chauncey Billups. It’s uncertain whether the injury will affect Zeller’s status for the regular season.
  • Trail Blazers assistant coach Milt Palacio has been placed under administrative leave by the team pending further notice, according to a team statement relayed by Quick (Twitter link). He is one of 18 former players facing charges in New York federal court over allegations that they defrauded the NBA’s health and welfare benefit plan.

Jazz Sign Second-Rounder Jared Butler

The Jazz have signed guard Jared Butler, according to a team press release.

According to Priority Sports, Butler’s agency, it’s a two-year guaranteed deal (Twitter link). Utah used its full taxpayer mid-level exception on Rudy Gay, leaving just the minimum salary exception for Butler — that means he was limited to no more than two years at the minimum.

Butler was acquired from the Pelicans in a draft-night deal. It was folded into part of a larger three-team deal.

Butler was a key component for national champion Baylor, averaging 16.7 PPG, 4.8 APG, 3.3 RPG and 2.0 SPG while shooting 41.6% from 3-point range as a junior. He had 22 points and seven assists in the title game against Gonzaga and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Lillard, Jazz, Butler

Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas is urging fans to be patient after the team’s slow start to free agency, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Minnesota hasn’t made any significant additions since the signing period began on Monday, but Rosas said the plan is to keep the core of the team intact and try to build on the momentum from late last season. The Wolves had a .500 record over their final 22 games.

“We just want to see this team come together,” he said. “As well as this team played down the stretch last year, we didn’t have Malik Beasley available because of injury. This group, the value of continuity, the value of growth together and just repetition together as a team, we’re excited about what that growth might mean.”

The immediate concern will be keeping restricted free agents Jarred Vanderbilt and Jordan McLaughlin, Krawczynski adds. Both are facing a market where teams are left with limited resources and limited roster spots. Rosas spoke to them and their agents shortly after the signing period began.

Head coach Chris Finch foresees an expanded role for both players if they return. McLaughlin may become the primary backup at point guard now that Ricky Rubio is on the way to Cleveland, while Vanderbilt is one of the team’s most versatile defenders.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard helped Team USA capture a gold medal despite playing with an abdominal injury, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. He will require further testing once he returns from Tokyo. Lillard, who was determined to keep playing despite the injury, logged 27 minutes and scored 11 points in Friday’s gold medal game.
  • The Jazz were shopping for versatility in this year’s free agent market, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. General manager Justin Zanik said that’s what the team was lacking in the playoffs, which is why it pursued Rudy Gay and Hassan Whiteside, while trading for Eric Paschall and rookie Jared Butler. Zanik added that he’s likely done with significant moves for the offseason, and Walden points out that means Joe Ingles will probably remain with the team.
  • The Jazz won’t have Butler as part of their Summer League squad, Walden adds. The rookie had a health issue during the pre-draft process and hasn’t been in a contact setting for a long time. Zanik said management might have let him play if the games were “10 days later,” but they opted to be safe.

Grizzlies Acquire No. 30 Pick Santi Aldama From Jazz

AUGUST 7: The draft-night trade between the Jazz and Grizzlies is now complete, per a team release from Memphis. The two teams had to wait until the Grizzlies officially acquired the rights to No. 40 pick Jared Butler from New Orleans before they could officially complete this deal.

As detailed below, the final trade is the Grizzlies receiving Almada’s draft rights in exchange for the rights to Butler and two future second-round picks. Those second-rounders heading to Utah are Memphis’ own selections in 2022 and 2026, per Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link).


JULY 29: The Jazz will send the 30th pick to the Grizzlies, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Memphis will select Loyola Maryland forward Santi Aldama, Woj adds (via Twitter).

Utah will receive the 40th pick and two future second-rounders in return, according to Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link). The 40th pick was part of a trade with the Pelicans earlier this week that won’t become official until the moratorium ends.

The Grizzlies believed the Thunder were targeting Aldama in the second round, so they thought they had to trade up ahead of the 34-36 range to make sure he didn’t go to OKC, tweets Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated.

The 6’11” Aldama turned down an invitation to the combine and didn’t conduct any publicly-known workouts before the draft, notes Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Aldama said he preferred to play in his native Spain and discouraged teams from drafting him. That led many people around the league to believe he had a promise from somebody, and Memphis likely shut him down several months ago.

Pelicans Officially Acquire Valanciunas, Graham In Three-Team Trade

The Pelicans have officially announced a pair of previouslyreported trades, having combined their acquisitions of center Jonas Valanciunas and point guard Devonte’ Graham into a single transaction involving both the Grizzlies and Hornets. Memphis and Charlotte have put out press releases as well.

The details of the three-team deal are as follows:

  • To Pelicans:
    • Valanciunas (from Grizzlies)
    • Graham (sign-and-trade; from Hornets)
    • The draft rights to Trey Murphy (No. 17 pick; from Grizzlies)
    • The draft rights to Brandon Boston (No. 51 pick; from Grizzlies)
      • Note: Boston will be rerouted to the Clippers in a subsequent trade.
  • To Grizzlies:
    • Eric Bledsoe (from Pelicans)
    • Steven Adams (from Pelicans)
    • The draft rights to Ziaire Williams (No. 10 pick; from Pelicans)
    • The draft rights to Jared Butler (No. 40 pick; from Pelicans)
      • Note: Butler will be rerouted to the Jazz in a subsequent trade.
    • The Lakers’ 2022 first-round pick (top-10 protected; from Pelicans)
  • To Hornets:
    • Wesley Iwundu (from Pelicans)
    • The Pelicans’ 2022 first-round pick (top-14 protected; from Pelicans)
      • Note: If the Pelicans’ 2022 first-rounder falls in the top 14, the Hornets will instead receive New Orleans’ 2022 and 2024 second-round picks, per Rod Boone of SI.com.
    • Cash (from Pelicans)
    • The draft rights to Tyler Harvey (from Grizzlies)

The details of the three-team trade essentially line up with what was previously reported, with two new pieces added — Iwundu going from New Orleans to Charlotte and Harvey’s draft rights going from Memphis to Charlotte. Harvey was presumably only included to ensure that the Grizzlies and Hornets were “touching,” since otherwise Memphis would only have been exchanging assets with the Pelicans.

Looping their sign-and-trade acquisition of Graham into the trade suggests the Pelicans will operate over the cap, using Bledsoe’s and Adams’ outgoing salaries in order to match both Valanciunas and Graham instead of signing Graham into cap space.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), it also allows New Orleans to generate a $17MM+ trade exception in the deal. Only Bledsoe’s and Iwundu’s outgoing salaries are needed for matching purposes to take on Valanciunas and Graham, meaning the Pelicans’ new TPE is worth Adams’ salary ($17,073,171).

Graham reportedly signed a four-year, $47MM contract with the Pelicans as part of the trade. He and Tomas Satoransky appear set to play the majority of the minutes at point guard in New Orleans, barring further roster changes. The team is sending Lonzo Ball to Chicago in a separate sign-and-trade deal.

Graham made just 37.7% of his field goal attempts in 2020/21, but his three-point mark was a very respectable 37.5%. In addition to his ability to make threes, Graham is an above-average play-maker (6.5 APG over the last two seasons) and a respectable defender.

Swapping out Adams for Valanciunas should allow the Pelicans to improve their frontcourt spacing. Valanciunas isn’t exactly a long-distance marksman, but has a solid mid-range game and will shoot the occasional three-pointer, which should create more room for Zion Williamson to operate. The former No. 5 overall pick averaged an impressive 17.1 PPG and 12.5 RPG with a .592/.368/.773 shooting line in 62 games (28.3 MPG) this past season.

From the Grizzlies’ perspective, the deal was a way to improve their draft assets in both 2021 and 2022 as a result of their willingness to take on Adams’ and Bledsoe’s pricey contracts. The team moved up from No. 17 to No. 10 to snag Williams, and later flipped the No. 40 pick (Butler) to Utah in a separate trade to move up to No. 30 for Santi Aldama.

[RELATED: 2021 NBA Offseason Trades]

The Hornets, meanwhile, decided to move on from Graham and got a protected first-round pick from New Orleans in exchange for waiving their right to match an offer sheet for the restricted free agent. Iwundu’s guaranteed $1.82MM salary for 2021/22 will eat up a small amount of Charlotte’s cap room, but the team will still have enough flexibility to complete its signing of Kelly Oubre to a two-year deal in the range of $12-13MM per year.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, J. Butler, Mudiay, Favors

The Timberwolves‘ second stint with former No. 5 overall pick Ricky Rubio wasn’t the fairy tale reunion either side hoped for, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic in a breakdown of the team’s trade with Cleveland and what it means for the Wolves moving forward.

While the Wolves are receiving solid three-and-D wing Taurean Prince as the return for Rubio, Krawczynski writes that Prince isn’t viewed as the solution to the team’s long-running search for a starting power forward, but rather as a rotation wing.

One benefit to the deal is an added $4.8MM in cap flexibility, which could allow the Wolves to use their entire taxpayer mid-level exception while possibly adding last year’s first round pick Leandro Bolmaro as well. Kracwzynski writes that the team explored trades into the draft and for Hawksforward Danilo Gallinari, but in the end were satisfied with the return of Prince.

We have more news from around the Northwest Division:

  • Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune details the Jazz‘s excitement upon trading down in the draft to land Baylor guard Jared Butler with the 40th pick, as well as two future second rounders. Butler, whom Utah was initially targeting in the first round, is viewed as someone who can play off the bench immediately, or even fill in should the Jazz lose Mike Conley to free agency.
  • Veteran point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will play for the Trail Blazers during Summer League, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The former No. 7 pick has bounced around the league since being traded from the team that drafted him, the Nuggets, to the Knicks in 2018, but the 25-year-old will be looking for a chance to get his career back on track with a strong showing in Las Vegas.
  • Derrick Favors was caught off-guard by the trade that will send him from the Jazz to the Thunder,writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. “Honestly, I’m still trying to process what happened,” Favors said. “It was tough to go to New Orleans, but I thought that there was a chance that I would come back to Utah. Now, I know this is it. So, there’s a lot to think about and a lot to work out.”

Draft Notes: Garuba, Butler, Pacers, Pistons, Kispert

Usman Garuba is generating buzz a potential mid first-round pick, but the terms of the Spaniard’s contract with Real Madrid represent an obstacle in getting him stateside for the 2021/22 season. According to Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com, Garuba’s NBA buyout clause with the Spanish club is worth three million Euros.

An NBA team can contribute to a player’s buyout with his international team, but only up to $775K (about €655K). That means that if Garuba wants to make the leap to the NBA right away, most of the buyout would have to come out of his own pocket. To make matters worse for the 19-year-old, the amount of that buyout increases by one million Euros every year until 2024, per Urbonas. Garuba’s contract with Real Madrid runs through 2025.

As John Hollinger of The Athletic observes (via Twitter), Garuba’s buyout is “insanely large” relative to other international contracts, but it may well be negotiated down to something more reasonable when the time comes for the big man to make the move to the NBA — which could happen in the coming weeks.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report and Jeremy Woo of SI.com have released the final versions of their respective big boards for the 2021 draft. The two draft experts have also put out updated versions of their mock drafts at Bleacher Report and SI.com.
  • Among the noteworthy items in Woo’s mock draft: Some teams have concerns about the condition of Jared Butler‘s knees, and the Pacers have thus far rebuffed efforts from teams below them to move up to No. 13. If Indiana keeps that No. 13 pick, the team is likely to target a more experienced prospect such as Corey Kispert, Davion Mitchell, or Chris Duarte, says Woo.
  • Woo also reports that there has been some “real disagreement” within the Pistons‘ front office about what to do with the No. 1 pick. However, he expects Detroit to ultimately select Cade Cunningham. In his latest mock draft at ESPN.com (Insider link), Jonathan Givony cites sources who say a Pistons commitment to Cunningham could be “imminent.”
  • Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert told reporters this week that the Spurs (No. 12), Wizards (No. 15), and Pelicans (No. 17) were among the teams he worked out for during the pre-draft process, as Mike Vornukov of The Athletic tweets. Based on reports, it looks like Kispert has worked out for every team in the 7-15 range except for the Grizzlies, who recently agreed to acquire the No. 10 pick from New Orleans.

Thunder Rumors: Gilgeous-Alexander, Draft, Butler, Arena

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, presenting the Thunder with their first major decision on the point guard since acquiring him in the Paul George trade in 2019. Oklahoma City seems likely to enter into extension discussions with Gilgeous-Alexander if he’s still on the roster later this offseason, but that’s not necessarily a given, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

“It’s going to take a f–king lot to get him (in a trade), but he’s no longer impossible to get,” one team executive told Fischer.

As Fischer notes, if the Thunder are open to discussing Gilgeous-Alexander in trade scenarios, that represents a change from the team’s philosophy during the 2020 offseason. At that point, all four teams with top-four picks contacted OKC about SGA and were “quickly rebuffed,” sources tell Bleacher Report.

This offseason, on the other hand, it sounds like the Thunder are even willing to bring up Gilgeous-Alexander in trade discussions themselves. According to both Fischer and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report, Oklahoma City offered Gilgeous-Alexander and the No. 6 pick in this year’s draft to the Pistons in exchange for the No. 1 overall pick. That was apparently the “legitimate” offer Wasserman alluded to on Monday, which Detroit turned down.

Here’s more on the Thunder:

  • There’s a “strong expectation” the the Thunder will continue to search for ways to move up in the first round, according to Fischer, who says that one possible deal to monitor is a swap that would send the 16th and 18th overall picks to the Hornets for No. 11.
  • There’s a “sense among team officials” that the Thunder and Raptors have also discussed a possible trade involving the No. 4 and No. 6 overall picks, Fischer writes.
  • If the Thunder keep their No. 18 overall pick, Baylor’s Jared Butler could be a target there, according to Wasserman, who suggests that the team may like the idea of adding a “veteran” prospect to its young core.
  • The Thunder’s arena has a new name: Paycom Center. The club issued a press release today announcing a 15-year arena naming rights agreement with Paycom, one of Oklahoma’s largest companies.

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.