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Stephen Curry Out At Least 10 More Days

Stephen Curry, who is currently sidelined with a strained left groin, is expected to miss at least five more games, according to the Warriors, who announced today in a press release that Curry will be re-evaluated in 10 days.

Based on that timeline, Curry will remain out of action for the team’s upcoming three-game road trip to Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, as well as next week’s home contests vs. the Thunder and Trail Blazers. The earliest Curry could return would be for the Dubs’ November 24 game vs. Sacramento.

According to the Warriors, however, Curry will travel with the club during that Texas road trip. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic observes (via Twitter), that’s not insignificant, given the drama surrounding the club these days.

Curry’s locker room presence could be important in the coming days, says Slater, noting that the two-time MVP wasn’t in Los Angeles in Monday when Draymond Green and Kevin Durant had an on-court and post-game confrontation.

[RELATED: Latest on Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Warriors]

With Curry not ready to return, Quinn Cook and Shaun Livingston will continue to handle point guard duties for the Warriors. The team also has an open roster spot if it wants to add more depth, but that’s probably not under consideration at this point.

Latest On Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Warriors

2:53pm: Shams Charania of The Athletic provides some more details on the situation in Golden State, reiterating that Green was surprised by his one-game suspension and writing that people around Draymond believe this is the sort of thing he won’t easily forget. Still, friends of Green and Durant believe that they’ll soon meet, making an effort to clear the air and move past Monday’s incident.

8:38am: In an article packed with details on Monday night’s confrontation between Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic reports that Green took exception to the way Durant addressed him following his turnover late in Monday’s game.

According to Thompson, Green made it clear that he’s been making plays for the Warriors for years, well before Durant showed up, and wouldn’t stand for KD talking to him like a scrub. Green also accused Durant of making the whole season about him, even though – in Green’s view – he’s going to leave at the end of the year. Green let out his frustrations with the way his teammate has handled his upcoming free agency, per Thompson, who hears that Green also called Durant a “b***h” several times during the exchange.

As Thompson explains, Warriors management felt Green crossed a line and essentially sided with Durant in hitting Green with a one-game suspension, a rebuke that surprised the Michigan State alum.

“With what was said, there is already no way Durant is coming back,” one player told Thompson. “The only hope is that they can say this summer, ‘See, KD. We’ve got your back. We protected you from Draymond.'”

Although the Dubs will be able to point to this incident when Durant reaches free agency to prove he has their full support, Thompson’s account raises doubts about whether it was the right call — if Durant ends up leaving anyway, Golden State will also now have to worry about where things stand with Green.

According to Thompson, the relationship between Green and Durant “needs to be rebuilt,” while the relationship between Green and team management may also now be “in shambles.” This isn’t a situation that will just blow over right away, says Thompson, and that sentiment is echoed by other Bay Area writers, including Dieter Kurtenbach of The Bay Area News Group, Anthony Slater of The Athletic, and Logan Murdock of The Bay Area News Group (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the unexpected drama in Golden State:

  • According to several people in the Warriors’ locker room, Durant could have ended the lingering irritation over his free agency situation by saying how much he loves playing with the Warriors and his teammates, then leaving it at that, Thompson writes. Thompson suggests that Green is among those who believe Durant has had a hand in creating hype about his free agency, distracting from the team’s quest for a third straight title.
  • Thompson reports that Stephen Curry visited Green on Tuesday and Green admitted to Curry that he was wrong for how – and when – he confronted Durant. However, the “general consensus” is that Green’s concerns about Durant’s handling of his upcoming free agency aren’t off base, Thompson adds.
  • Durant spoke to reporters after Tuesday’s game about Green and Monday’s altercation, but his answers were terse, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who provides a partial transcript. In Slater’s view, Green’s barbs stung Durant deeply and he wasn’t ready yet to talk about them publicly — so he didn’t.
  • One prominent player told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) that he plans to do everything in his power to get Durant and Green back on the same page.
  • Speaking to reporters, including Slater, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson both downplayed the long-lasting impact of Monday’s confrontation. “I think it was an old-school pimp that said: ‘You can’t climb a mountain if it’s smooth,'” Iguodala said. Meanwhile, Thompson offered the following assessment: “A win on Thursday and a win on Saturday and Sunday. That’s called a win streak. (Then) it will not matter and this will be in the past like a ponytail.”

Sixers Remain Interested In Kyle Korver

Fresh off of a blockbuster deal that brought in Jimmy Butler, the Sixers are eyeing moves that will add shooting to a roster depleted of it.

Philadelphia remains “highly” interested in Kyle Korver, as Marc Stein writes in his weekly newsletter for The New York Times. Stein notes that it will be difficult for Philadelphia to acquire Korver now that Jerryd Bayless is no longer on the team. Bayless, who is on an expiring contract worth $8.6MM, was sent to Minnesota in the Butler deal.

Korver signed a three-year, $22MM contract with the Cavaliers during the summer of 2017. LeBron James has since left The Land, making him an awkward fit on a rebuilding squad.

Philadelphia still has options, as a package of Mike Muscala and Zhaire Smith would financially work for a Korver trade. With Muscala seeing meaningful minutes this year, it’s hard to see the Sixers including him or their promising 2018 first-rounder in a deal for the 37-year-old.

Swapping Markelle Fultz for Korver would also work financially, though the team’s front office appears to be taking a patient approach with the former No. 1 overall pick, which makes a Fultz trade unlikely at the moment.

Warriors Dealing With Aftermath Of Green, Durant Confrontation

3:31pm: In the midst of their verbal altercation on Monday, Green challenged Durant about KD’s upcoming free agency, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who tweets that the incident has been a “simmering issue” for the Warriors today.

1:49pm: Warriors team officials were working on Tuesday to deal with the aftermath of an emotional end-of-game confrontation between Draymond Green and teammates, including Kevin Durant, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears.

As Nick Friedell of ESPN.com detailed late last night, Green and Durant exchanged heated words during Monday’s game against the Clippers after a sequence at the end of regulation — Green grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled up the floor, and committed a turnover while Durant appeared to be calling for the ball. As a result of the missed opportunity, the game went into overtime, with Golden State eventually losing to L.A.

Green and Durant both appeared visibly agitated on the court, with teammates calming them down before the start of overtime. The two All-Stars left the locker room after the game without speaking to reporters, but Wojnarowski and Spears suggest that some Warriors players “loudly confronted” Green in the locker room for his decision-making on that play.

While no one had to be separated and “no hint of physicality loomed in the setting,” according to Wojnarowski and Spears, some of ESPN’s sources described it as one of the most intense altercations of this Warriors era. A few of Green’s teammates took exception with his choice to keep the ball instead of passing it to Durant during those final moments of regulation, and Green was “forceful” in defending himself, sources tell ESPN.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic suggests (via Twitter) that most of the tension stemmed less from the result of the final play itself and more from Green’s strong defense of it and his unwillingness to acknowledge a possible mistake.

Occasional heated arguments aren’t uncommon in NBA locker rooms and this one is hardly a major red flag for the 11-3 Warriors, who still sit atop the Western Conference. Nonetheless, with Durant eligible for unrestricted free agency at season’s end and rumors already flying about his looming decision, incidents like this one figure to be put under the microscope over the course of the season. For what it’s worth, while Durant and Green didn’t speak to the media after Monday’s game, veteran guard Shaun Livingston downplayed the dispute.

“Just team spirit,” Livingston said, per Friedell. “Team spirit. Guys wanted a different outcome than what happened. Obviously, Dray had the turnover. Guys might have thought they were open or wanted the basketball, didn’t get it. Things happen like that in sports. But it was good to see some fire, some emotion.”

Caris LeVert Dislocates Foot, Expected To Return This Season

Nets swingman Caris LeVert, who underwent tests on Tuesday after leaving Monday’s game with a gruesome leg injury, has been diagnosed with a subtalar dislocation of the right foot, the team announced today in a press release. It’s good news for LeVert, who didn’t break any bones and hasn’t been ruled out for the entire 2018/19 season.

“Fortunately, tests performed this morning revealed that there are no fractures and only moderate ligament damage,” Nets orthopedist Dr. Martin O’Malley said in a statement. “While the optics of this injury may have appeared to be more severe, surgery will not be required. Caris will begin a period of rehabilitation with the Nets’ performance staff, following which he is expected to return to full strength and resume all basketball activities without any limitations this season.”

LeVert, who has dealt with foot injuries in the past, appeared to be in the midst of a breakout season until Monday’s injury. In 14 games, he had averaged 18.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 3.7 APG, putting him in position to receive early consideration for this season’s Most Improved Player award.

LeVert almost certainly won’t be in the running for that honor anymore, since his latest foot injury will sideline him for a good chunk of the season. However, the fact that the Nets expect him to return to the court by the spring is great news, considering the injury initially looked like a sure bet to end his season. The 24-year-old remains a long-term building block for the franchise, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe details in an excellent piece today.

LeVert’s injury could open up the door for players like D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to pick up some extra minutes, depending on how the Nets structure their lineups in his absence.

Dillon Brooks Out Six To Eight Weeks With MCL Sprain

Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks suffered a grade II MCL sprain in the team’s Saturday victory over the Sixers, the team announced in a press release on Monday. Brooks is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

Brooks tripped over the basketball on a bounce pass attempt by Joel Embiid and his knee hyperextended. He left the game and underwent an MRI on Monday, which revealed the severity of the injury.

Brooks, 22, is a key part of Memphis’ second unit. The second-round pick from 2017 NBA draft averaged 6.8 PPG and 2.1 RPG through 11 games (18.9 MPG) this season while providing a spark on defense. In 82 games (74 starts) last season, Brooks averaged 11.0 PPG and 3.1 RPG for the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies also provided updates on Omri Casspi, JaMychal Green and Chandler Parsons. Casspi (knee) is nearing a full recovery and is expected to return at some point this week. Green (jaw) appeared in two games this season before undergoing surgery for a fractured jaw in late October; he’s expected to return within two weeks. Finally, Parsons (knee) is limited by the injury and another update will be issued in two weeks.

Carmelo Anthony’s Reps Exploring Possible Destinations

As Carmelo Anthony‘s stint with the Rockets appears to be nearing an end, his representatives are reportedly exploring potential landing spots if and when he hits the open market, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Earlier today, Chris Sheridan tweeted that the Sixers are “kicking the tires” on Anthony should he hit waivers. However, Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice cited a team source who “categorically denied” that Philadelphia has any interest in the 10-time All-Star.

Anthony has missed Houston’s past two games due to illness and did not make the trip with the team for Tuesday night’s matchup against the Nuggets. Wojnarowski noted that both Anthony and league officials are surprised at how quickly the separation has occurred.

Anthony, 34, has appeared in just 10 games (two starts) with the Rockets this season.  He has posted career lows across the board, averaging 13.4 PPG 5.4 RPG in 29.4 minutes per game. The shooting problems that plagued Anthony with the Thunder have followed him to Houston, as he shooting 40.5% from the field and 32.8% from beyond the arc.

Cutting ties with Anthony would not be a major financial loss for the Rockets as the team signed him to a veteran’s minimum contract ($1.5MM cap charge) this summer. For Anthony, however, finding another team after disappointing stints with two separate clubs in less than two seasons may prove difficult.

Details On Rockets’, Pelicans’ Trade Offers For Butler

A report over the weekend indicated that the Timberwolves had three trade offers on the table for Jimmy Butler before ultimately deciding to pull the trigger on a Sixers package headlined by Robert Covington and Dario Saric. In their latest report for The Athletic, Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic provide some details on the other two offers Minnesota was considering, which came from the Rockets and Pelicans.

According to Charania and Krawczynski, the Rockets – who had previously offered four first-round picks attached to Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss – adjusted their proposal to make it more appealing to Tom Thibodeau, who remains in win-now mode. Houston’s offer featured Eric Gordon, Nene, and two first-round picks, sources told The Athletic. It’s not clear what sort of protections would have been on those first-rounders, or whether any other pieces were involved.

As for the Pelicans, they weren’t mentioned often over the last couple months as a serious suitor for Butler, but they were engaged in talks with Minnesota at the end of the process. Charania and Krawczynski report that New Orleans’ package was headlined by Nikola Mirotic and an unprotected first-round pick. Again, it’s unclear what other pieces would have been included in such a deal — Mirotic’s salary wouldn’t have been enough to match Butler’s on its own.

The full report from Charania and Krawczynski is excellent, providing a timeline of the Butler saga from mid-September right up until today. It’s worth checking out in full if you have a subscription to The Athletic.

Here are a few more highlights from the piece:

  • Friday’s game was viewed as a fork in the road for both the Timberwolves and Butler. We previously heard that Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden decided after that game that Butler had played his last game for the team — it sounds like Butler had made up his mind too. According to Charania and Krawczynski, the 29-year-old had decided to begin sitting out indefinitely after that game if Minnesota didn’t trade him.
  • Thibodeau subsequently told his staff after Friday’s game that they had to move Butler, sources tell The Athletic. In fact, the Timberwolves nearly held the All-NBA swingman out of Friday’s game because they already had traction on a potential deal.
  • The Heat‘s original offer for Butler included Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, and a draft pick, per Charania and Krawczynski. Miami later extended Winslow and put Josh Richardson into an offer. However, when a deal involving Richardson fell apart, the Heat pulled him off the table and never included him in another offer.

Timberwolves Trade Jimmy Butler To Sixers

NOVEMBER 12: The Sixers and Timberwolves have issued press releases announcing that the deal is now official.

NOVEMBER 10: The Sixers have agreed to acquire Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton for Robert Covington, Dario SaricJerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick, according to Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter links). A trade call with the league to finalize the deal has been scheduled for Monday, Charania adds (via Twitter).

Elton Brand‘s first major move as the Sixers’ general manager will allow the team to acquire a third star alongside Simmons and Embiid without having to take their chances trying to lure that sort of impact player to Philadelphia during 2019’s free agent period. It should also reduce the pressure on 2017’s first overall pick Markelle Fultz to develop into that third star.

Butler and the Sixers fully expect to reach an agreement on a long-term deal for the All-NBA swingman once he’s eligible for free agency in 2019, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Philadelphia’s plan is to have a long-term big three of Butler, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, according to Wojnarowski, who suggests (via Twitter) that only a major injury or a poor fit alongside Simmons and Embiid could diminish the Sixers’ optimism on a long-term future with Butler.

It remains to be seen how Butler will fit on and off the court in Philadelphia with the team’s two young stars after failing to make things work with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota, but the four-time All-Star should significantly increase the 76ers’ ceiling. Butler will provide play-making and shooting (.361 3PT% since 2016/17) on offense, and figures to replace Covington as the team’s primary perimeter stopper on defense. As for Patton, his NBA career has been derailed by foot injuries, and he’s unlikely to be a Sixer beyond this season.

Even if they re-sign Butler in 2019, the Sixers won’t necessarily be capped out quite yet, with Simmons still on his rookie deal. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks details, with cap holds for Butler and fellow free agent T.J. McConnell to consider, the team would have about $21MM in cap room next summer. If the 76ers want to clear enough room for another max player, trading Fultz would just about get them there, though Philadelphia’s cap sheet could get messy in that scenario, with an eventual max deal for Simmons also on the horizon.

For Minnesota, this trade will end a near two-month saga after Butler’s trade request went public. The week before training camps got underway, word broke that Butler had asked to be traded during a meeting with Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau and didn’t intend to report to camp.

When the Wolves didn’t find a trade for Butler right away, he rejoined the team, but the last five or six weeks have been rife with drama. The 29-year-old’s return to Minnesota was highlighted by a now-infamous expletive-filled rant in a preseason practice, and things hadn’t quieted down much since then. Now that the Wolves have finally resolved the situation, the team will have an opportunity to focus on a future centered around former No. 1 overall picks Towns and Wiggins.

The Timberwolves will now add Covington and Saric to that long-term core — Saric won’t be up for restricted free agency until 2020, while Covington is locked up through 2022. Both players make sense for Thibodeau, GM Scott Layden, and the Wolves, who didn’t want to take a significant step back in their roster-building process after snapping a lengthy postseason-less streak this past spring. Covington and Saric will be able to jump into the rotation immediately and should also be part of the team for years to come.

Bayless is on an expiring contract and almost certainly won’t be part of Minnesota’s future plans, as he was just included in the swap for salary-matching purposes. If the Wolves don’t plan for Bayless to have a role this season, he’ll become a buyout candidate.

Thibodeau, Layden, owner Glen Taylor, and the Timberwolves also reportedly discussed potential Butler trades with several other teams before agreeing to terms with the Sixers. The Rockets and Heat were said to be the most aggressive suitors, as Minnesota allegedly passed on a Miami offer that included Josh Richardson and a first-round pick, and also balked at a Houston offer featuring four first-round picks.

We don’t know what the protections on those Rockets’ first-rounders or the Heat first-rounder would have looked like, and the Wolves likely would have had to take on an unwanted multiyear contract in each of those proposals. Still, it will still be fascinating to see how Covington and Saric pan out in Minnesota, since we have a sense of what sort of other packages were available to the Wolves.

While Thibodeau exercised plenty of patience through the Butler saga, that patience ran out after the Timberwolves concluded their 0-5 road trip on Friday, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). League sources told Wojnarowski that Thibodeau came to the realization Minnesota couldn’t win with Butler in such a dysfunctional environment, and told associates that the team wouldn’t play another game with Butler.

Wojnarowski and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst also report (via Twitter) that team ownership was “heavily involved” on both sides of the negotiations, with Taylor and Josh Harris of the Sixers working closely with management to finalize a deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Several Teams Keeping Close Eye On Wizards

Several NBA teams, including the Sixers, are keeping a close eye on the struggling Wizards, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link).

As Mannix explains, most of those clubs aren’t necessarily interested in pursuing a mega-deal for a star like John Wall or Bradley Beal. Rather, they’re curious to see if the Wizards might become open to moving role players like Markieff Morris, Jeff Green, or Kelly Oubre.

As has been well documented, the Wizards are off to a disappointing start this season, having won just three of their first 12 games. However, the team is about to start a five-game homestand that includes games against the Magic, Cavaliers, and Nets, so there will be an opportunity for Washington to begin climbing back to .500. Two of those teams, Orlando and Brooklyn, are tied for the eighth spot in the East at 6-7, so it’s not as if a playoff berth is out of reach for the Wizards, especially this early in the year.

As such, it would be a surprise if Washington seriously considers moving any of their rotation players within the next several weeks unless it’s in a deal that improves the team right away. If the Wizards continue to struggle, solid players on expiring contracts, like Morris, Green, and Oubre could become more viable trade candidates.

Morris and Green will be unrestricted free agents at season’s end, while Oubre will be eligible for restricted free agency.