Paul George

Westbrook Notes: Thunder, Knicks, Rockets, Heat, CP3

After reaching deals to send Paul George to the Clippers and Russell Westbrook to the Rockets – with a Jerami Grant trade thrown in the middle for good measure – the Thunder have completed one of the speediest tear-downs in NBA history, writes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Given the club’s lack of playoff success in recent years, that fresh start was needed, according to Mannix, who adds that it’s hard to imagine that Oklahoma City could have gotten more in return for its two stars.

While the Thunder – who haven’t gone through a rebuilding process since moving to Oklahoma City – didn’t necessarily want to start that process now, some members of the organization think it was “necessary, if not overdue,” per ESPN’s Royce Young, who notes that the team privately viewed the 2019/20 season as its “last, best chance at winning a title.”

As Young details, George’s trade request came as a shock, but it could also be viewed as a gift, since the circumstances surrounding it gave the Thunder tremendous leverage in their negotiations with the Clippers. Westbrook didn’t try to change George’s mind, sources tell Young, and less than a week later, Oklahoma City was able to accommodate an exit path for the former MVP as well.

The Rockets were Westbrook’s clear-cut favorite choice, a league source tells Brett Dawson and Michael Lee of The Athletic, and the longtime Thunder point guard had a significant voice in where he landed. While he also appeared open to being traded to the Heat, trade talks between Oklahoma City and Miami had quieted by Thursday, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

We already rounded up several Rockets-related notes on Thursday’s blockbuster trade agreement that will land Westbrook in Houston and Chris Paul in Oklahoma City, but here are a few more details worth passing along:

  • Although the Thunder likely wouldn’t have sent Westbrook to a lottery team anyway, rebuilding clubs with a hole at point guard (or a general need for star talent) expressed little interest in giving up any real assets of value for him, sources tell Zach Lowe.
  • In the immediate aftermath of the George trade, Westbrook viewed the Knicks as a potential landing spot, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. It’s not known whether New York was on the list of preferred destinations that Westbrook ultimately provided the Thunder, but if OKC was focused on making a move sooner rather than later, it’s a moot point — the Knicks couldn’t have made a deal until December 15. It’s also not clear if New York had more than “lukewarm” interest in the triple-double machine, Begley adds.
  • An individual with knowledge of the talks tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle that Westbrook first broached the topic of a possible trade not long after the Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs in the spring. Presumably, if George hadn’t made his own trade request, Westbrook wouldn’t have pushed to be dealt either.
  • Westbrook is intrigued by the possibilities that Mike D’Antoni‘s floor-spreading offense could create for him with the Rockets, a source tells Brett Dawson and Michael Lee.
  • Having previously reported that the Heat‘s unwillingness to include multiple young players in their offer for Westbrook was a roadblock, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald says the Thunder’s desire to include Andre Roberson‘s unwanted expiring contract in a deal with Miami was another obstacle. While Chris Paul has been mentioned as a possible alternative for the Heat, Jackson sounds skeptical that Miami would do such a deal without getting back at least one draft pick and dumping unwanted contracts, since acquiring Paul’s huge contract would compromise the team’s ability to pursue star players in future offseasons.

Thunder Trade Paul George To Clippers

JULY 10: Having announced the signing of Leonard earlier today, the Clippers have now officially confirmed their acquisition of George as well.

“Paul George is one of the greatest two-way players in our game,” president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement. “He is both an elite scorer and a relentless defender whose versatility elevates any team. When you have the opportunity to acquire a contributor of his caliber, you do what it takes to bring him home. Paul is a native of the Los Angeles area and an ideal fit for the Clippers, thanks to his selflessness and drive. Following the lead of Steve Ballmer, we have plotted an aggressive course to build a championship contender, and acquiring Paul is a critical step.”

The Clippers are now over the cap, and all of the agreed-upon trades of the 2019 offseason (so far) have been officially completed.

JULY 6: In addition to landing No. 1 free agent Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers have reached a stunning trade agreement to acquire All-NBA forward Paul George from the Thunder, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Oklahoma City will receive Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and a “massive” haul of future draft picks in exchange for George.

That haul features four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-rounder, and two pick swaps, Woj reports (via Twitter). The Thunder will receive the following selections, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter):

  • Heat’s 2021 unprotected first-round pick.
  • Clippers’ unprotected 2022 first-round pick.
  • Heat’s 2023 first round pick (top-14 protected).
  • The right to swap first-round picks with the Clippers in 2023.
  • Clippers’ unprotected 2024 first-round pick.
  • The right to swap first-round picks with the Clippers in 2025.
  • Clippers’ unprotected 2026 first-round pick.

The Clippers held the Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick and will acquire Miami’s 2023 lottery-protected first-rounder as part of the four-team Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade deal. That will allow the Clips to keep their own 2020 and 2021 first-rounders and send out five total picks while satisfying both the Stepien rule (which prohibits teams from leaving themselves without a first-round pick in consecutive future seasons) and the “Seven Year Rule” (which doesn’t allow teams to trade first-rounders more than seven years in advance).

Those extra picks from the Heat pave the way the Clippers to make the biggest one-two punch of the free agent period, with their acquisition of George coming after Leonard had pushed PG13 to find a way to the Clippers, per Wojnarowski (Twitter links).

As Woj details, George approached the Thunder and requested a trade amidst Leonard’s recruiting efforts, leaving Oklahoma City to try to make the best out of a difficult situation. The Thunder did just that, as their haul from the Clippers will land them a veteran on an expiring $22MM contract who was a borderline All-Star in 2019 (Gallinari), one of the most impressive rookies of the 2018 class (Gilgeous-Alexander), and a bounty of future draft picks.

Still, despite securing a huge package for George, the Thunder may not be out of the weeds quite yet. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that rival teams have been aware in recent days not just of George’s discontent, but of Russell Westbrook‘s as well. It remains to be seen how Westbrook will feel about the departure of the All-Star teammate that he succeeded in keeping in OKC as a free agent a year ago, but with potential long-term cornerstone Gilgeous-Alexander in the mix at point guard, it wouldn’t be surprising if the former MVP ends up on the trade block as well.

It’s an abrupt change of direction for the Thunder, who expected as recently as last week to be building around Westbrook and George, according to Brett Dawson of The Athletic (Twitter link). As Dawson observes, even this week’s free agent agreements with veterans like Alec Burks and Mike Muscala suggest that Oklahoma City was looking to fortify its current core rather than blow it up. It will be fascinating to see what the team’s next move is.

For now though, the Clippers will steal the headlines, having delivered an incredible counter-punch to their Staples Center cohabitants after the Lakers reached a deal last month to acquire Anthony Davis.

The Clippers are giving up a ton to acquire George, but it’s unlikely that they would have gotten a commitment from Leonard without making the deal, according to Wojnarowski, who tweets that the Clippers recognized that they had to pull the trigger, lest they risk allowing the Lakers to steal Leonard and create a powerhouse.

In George, the Clippers will add a 29-year-old who is coming off his best season as a pro, averaging 28.0 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 4.1 APG, and a league-best 2.2 SPG in 77 games (36.9 MPG) for the Thunder. The six-time All-Star, who is recovering from undergoing procedures on his shoulders at season’s end, finished third in MVP voting in 2019.

He’ll team up with Leonard to lead a roster that also features Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet, Rodney McGruder, Maurice Harkless, Jerome Robinson, and potentially RFA Ivica Zubac.

It’ll be a homecoming for George, a Southern California native who grew up as a Clippers fan, as Fred Katz of The Athletic notes (via Twitter). George had a 15% trade bonus on his contract, which runs through 2020/21 with a 2021/22 player option, but because trade bonuses can’t push a player’s salary beyond his maximum, it’ll be voided, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

The Clippers will officially acquire George after signing Leonard using their cap room, since the club will be matching salaries as an over-the-cap team in the trade, Marks adds (via Twitter).

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raptors Rumors: Kawhi, Lowry, Gasol, Ibaka, Green

The Raptors were confident entering free agency about their chances to re-sign NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, but that confidence began to waver after they met with Leonard and his uncle Dennis Robertson in Toronto last Wednesday, sources tell Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

According to Lewenberg, Leonard and his camp asked for a lot from the Raptors during that meeting — “things players don’t generally ask for in standard contract negotiations,” writes Lewenberg. One of Lewenberg’s sources describes those requests as “unreasonable,” suggesting that Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri wouldn’t have been able to meet them all even if he’d wanted to.

The requests caused the Raptors to question whether Leonard was seriously considering them at all, according to Lewenberg. A belief that Kawhi was eyeing the Clippers all along prompted the Raptors to not get too invested in potential trade discussions with the Thunder. Lewenberg suggests that those preliminary talks included Paul George, but not Russell Westbrook, and didn’t even reach the team’s highest-ranking executives.

Within his own look at the Leonard situation, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca conveys many of the same sentiments that Lewenberg did. According to Grange, as Leonard’s requests became more difficult to meet and communication became less constant, it became more clear that the Raptors weren’t his top priority, as one person close to the talks described it.

Grange adds that the Raptors’ contact with the Thunder in the hours leading up to Leonard’s announcement “may have been somewhat exaggerated.” Toronto tapped out fairly early once it was evident OKC was using talks with the Raptors as leverage.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • One Clippers official who spoke to Grange was relieved that his team was still able to land Kawhi after the success he enjoyed in Toronto in 2018/19: “The Raptors did everything right. We saw the parade, saw those pictures and figured that was it. We were done.”
  • Speaking to reporters, including Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun, Ujiri suggested on Tuesday that he’s not exactly reeling from losing Leonard: “I think we got a great deal out of this. We won a championship, so we’re happy. And, honestly, it’s on to the next. This is the NBA and this is how it works. You can’t hide under the table and cry. Honestly, I’ve lost no sleep, I’m not disappointed. It’s on to what’s next. I’m telling Raptors fans and everybody, don’t lose one day of sleep, one second of sleep. We’re going to be just fine. We’re going to be alright.”
  • Don’t expect the next steps for the Raptors to involve an immediate tear-down. Sources tell Lewenberg that the team has no intention of moving veterans on expiring contracts – such as Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka – before the season. Of course, it’s possible that stance could change by the trade deadline if the Raps don’t have a great first half.
  • While there was a belief that Danny Green would lean toward re-signing with the Raptors and trying to defend their title if Leonard returned, that may not have been the case after all. According to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (via Twitter), Green told the Mavericks that he wouldn’t be returning to Toronto, and his choice came down to the Lakers vs. the Mavs.

Western Notes: Pelicans, Bzdelik, PG13, Lillard, More

After being let go by the Rockets this spring, veteran assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik is generating significant interest from one of Houston’s division rivals. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link), The Pelicans have offered a spot on Alvin Gentry‘s coaching staff to Bzdelik, who is weighing his options after leaving Houston.

While nothing has been finalized yet, David Aldridge of The Athletic suggests (via Twitter) that Bzdelik and the Pelicans are “close” to a deal. The longtime NBA and college coach, who previously had a stint as Denver’s head coach is one of the most highly-regarded defensive coordinators in the league, as both Stein and Aldridge note.

If the Pelicans finalize an agreement with Bzdelik, he could step into the role vacated by former assistant Darren Erman, who recently left the club’s coaching staff.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Shortly after word broke that the Thunder had agreed to trade Paul George to the Clippers, Shams Charania of Stadium (video link) said that George had “a little bit of buyer’s remorse” after agreeing to a long-term extension in Oklahoma City last summer. Bill Simmons of The Ringer used the same phrase (“buyer’s remorse”) on a recent podcast when describing what he had heard about PG13 over the last couple months.
  • At the press conference to announce Damian Lillard‘s new super-max extension on Saturday, Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey called the move a “no-brainer,” while Lillard explained why his top priority has always been winning a championship in Portland. “In the end, I know that if it gets done, it will feel much better to know that I did it in a solid way,” Lillard said, per ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “I didn’t have to go and play with the best players just to get it done. For me, this is the way I want to do it. And I know that if it doesn’t happen I can live with it because I know the route that I chose.”
  • While Jerami Grant is unlikely to start over Paul Millsap, the Nuggets will continue to be “judicious” with Millsap’s playing time moving forward, giving Grant plenty of opportunities in Denver, writes Nick Kosmider of The Athletic. In his analysis of the Nuggets’ latest acquisition, Kosmider suggests that Grant projects as an ideal floor spacer next to Nikola Jokic.
  • In a court brief filed last week in response to sexual assault allegations by former sportscaster Kelli Tennant, new Kings head coach Luke Walton claimed that those allegations aren’t backed up by facts and are designed to attract media attraction. Stefanie Dazio of The Associated Press has the full story.

Northwest Notes: Whiteside, Grant, Gilgeous-Alexander, Jazz

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard believes he can bring out the best of Hassan Whiteside, the enigmatic center acquired from the Heat as part of the multi-team Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade. Lillard has a good friendship with Whiteside and that should help prevent Whiteside from getting over-emotional, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic.

“I said, ‘So this is what this is going to come down to: If in the middle of the game, you are not getting the ball and you mad, and you felt like somebody should have done something, you come and say something to me,” Lillard said. “And if (Trail Blazers) Coach (Terry Stotts) is getting on you, or Coach takes you out and you get mad at Coach, me and you have to be able to communicate. Even if we argue, that’s fine. But we have to be able to get through to each other.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone is thrilled with the acquisition of forward Jerami Grant from the Thunder, as he told Alex Labidou of the team’s website. He believes Grant will mesh well with franchise player Nikola Jokic and significantly improve the team’s defense. “Watching film, he’s guarded Damian Lillard, James Harden, Anthony Davis, the guy can guard anybody,” Malone said. “I think that versatility is exciting.”
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gives the Thunder a long-term answer at point guard who may have a better future than Paul George, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes. Gilgeous-Alexander is nine years younger than George, Tramel notes, and he displayed better defensive and shooting skills than Russell Westbrook did in his rookie year.
  • Jazz center Rudy Gobert shrugs off the Clippers’ acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and George, confident that the Jazz have done enough this offseason to become serious contenders. “We don’t want to pay too much attention into what the other teams are doing,” Gobert told Tony Jones of The Athletic. “We want to keep working hard, and we want to stay hungry. We know what we have to do. Whenever we step out onto the court, the goal is to win. We know that we have a chance to do some good things this year. But we want to take things one step at a time.”
  • The Timberwolves have brought back Bryan Gates as an assistant coach under Ryan Saunders, according to an Associated Press report. Gates has been on the Kings’ staff the last three seasons but spent the 2015/16 season with Minnesota.

Heat, Westbrook Have Mutual Interest In Trade

The Heat have expressed interest in negotiating a trade for Russell Westbrook, who views the possibility of playing in Miami as appealing, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

A report earlier on Monday indicated that the Thunder are receptive to trade inquiries for Westbrook in the aftermath of the blockbuster deal sending Paul George to the Clippers.

The Heat made a bold move in free agency by gaining a commitment from Jimmy Butler and engineering a sign-and-trade for the swingman. A Westbrook/Butler pairing could make Miami an instant contender in the wide open Eastern Conference, though contractually it would have long-term implications.

Westbrook, 30, has four years and $171MM remaining on his contract, including a $47MM player option in the final year. Moving Westbrook’s contract for future salary-cap relief might be the best Oklahoma City can do at this point.

Miami has already traded away its 2021 and 2023 first-rounders – which the Thunder own – and numerous second-rounders.

Westbrook will make $38.5MM next season but Miami has a handful of players making between $19.2MM and $12MM — Goran Dragic, James Johnson, Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk — for salary-matching purposes.

Miami also has to make sure it doesn’t add more salary to its current cap. The Heat are just $986K below the threshold of the $138.9MM luxury tax apron, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Thus, Miami cannot take back more or equal salaries in a potential Westbrook trade because that would hamstring its ability to fill out the roster (Twitter link).

Westbrook and agent Thad Foucher met with Thunder general manager Sam Presti over the weekend and both sides came away eager to find a resolution, according to Wojnarowski. Westbrook doesn’t want to be part of rebuild and that’s where OKC finds itself after George’s trade request to join forces with Kawhi Leonard.

Details On Kawhi Leonard’s Decision, Free Agent Meetings

Kawhi Leonard‘s camp spoke to the Raptors about the possibility of acquiring Paul George or Bradley Beal, Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star reports. The franchise considered the request, though Masai Ujiri & Co. began to believe in the final days leading up to Leonard’s decision that Kawhi, who was in Toronto from Wednesday to Friday, was not serious about rejoining the defending champs.

Leonard was focused on the Clippers even as his championship run with the Raptors was ongoing, Arthur writes. His camp gauged Jimmy Butler‘s interest in teaming up with him in Los Angeles throughout the postseason and the Clippers had planned to go after the pairing. Butler ended up landing in Miami and it appeared that the title and the inability to get Butler had closed the gap between the Raptors and the Southern California franchise.

The Raptors engaged in trade talks with the Thunder, though Arthur cautions that Toronto never came close to acquiring George and writes that Russell Westbrook was not involved in those discussions. It was previously reported that Westbrook and George both could have been included in a potential package to the Raptors. Westbrook was open to the idea of playing with Leonard, Arthur hears.

Here’s more buzz surrounding the Final MVP’s decision to move to California:

  • The location for the Lakers’ meeting with Leonard was switched last minute to Westlake Village and only owner Jeanie Buss and GM Rob Pelinka were there, as per Leonard’s request, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com tweets. Shelburne adds that Leonard met with George near that location on the same day.
  • The Lakers knew their typical pitch, promising stardom and off-court fame, would not appeal to Leonard, Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times details. The team stuck to basketball in their hotel meeting with Leonard, attempting to sell him on winning a championship with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The meeting only lasted two hours.
  • Leonard and his uncle spoke to Magic Johnson prior to the Lakers‘ meeting, Ganguli adds. They had questions about Johnson’s recent comments on Pelinka where Johnson accused the former agent of betraying him. Johnson responded with praise for the organization and spoke highly of the Lakers’ front office. Johnson’s comments were not brought up in the Lakers’ short meeting, Ganguli hears.
  • The Lakers had no idea that Leonard wanted George as a teammate, per Ganguli. It was inconsequential, as Los Angeles had no real means of acquiring him from Oklahoma City since the club had already given up so many assets in the Anthony Davis deal.

Pacific Notes: Leonard, George, Caruso, Kings

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George may have permanently altered the perception of the two teams in Los Angeles, writes Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times. At one time, Leonard and George were both considered to be future Lakers. They were two stars who grew up in the L.A. area and wanted to leave their smaller-market teams for the comforts of home. That’s where they wound up, but they’re both Clippers.

Markazi recounts the history of the two franchises and how unbalanced the rivalry has been since the Clippers moved west. The Lakers had the stars, the famous fans and the titles, with 33 playoff appearances, 16 trips to the Finals and 10 championships from 1976 to 2011. Over that same time, the Clippers had just three winning seasons and made the playoffs four times.

The “Lob City” years and the purchase of the team by Steve Ballmer helped changed the balance of power as the Lakers fell onto hard times. Now with George and Leonard together on one side of Staples Center and LeBron James and Anthony Davis roaming the other, there finally appears to be a real rivalry.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers will sign Alex Caruso with part of their $4.8MM room exception, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. A full day of signings on Saturday plus the Davis trade left the team a little more than $1MM below the salary cap, and Marks believes that money may be used to give second-round pick Talen Horton-Tucker a contract longer than two years. Dudley, Daniels and Rajon Rondo will all sign veteran’s minimum deals, Marks adds (Twitter link).
  • The Warriors had “significant interest” in Caruso before he opted to return to the Lakers, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
  • The Lakers risk another “reality show” season with their flurry of signings in the wake of losing out on Leonard, observes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. L.A.’s front office was heavily criticized last summer for not surrounding James with more shooters, and although they improved in that area this year with Danny Green, Jared Dudley, Troy Daniels and Quinn Cook, only Green has proven to be a reliable two-way player. Goodwill is also concerned about the lack of young talent, with Kyle Kuzma left as the only prominent player with a chance to improve.
  • The Kings continue to move toward GM Vlade Divac‘s vision of a faster and deeper team with this year’s free agent signings, notes Jason Jones of The Athletic. Sacramento added veteran help for its young core by re-signing Harrison Barnes and adding Dewayne Dedmon, Trevor Ariza, Cory Joseph and Richaun Holmes.

More Details On Thunder, Raptors Trade Talks

Earlier today, we relayed a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on the Thunder‘s efforts to engage the Raptors in trade discussions involving Paul George. As Wojnarowski explained, the threat of Oklahoma City sending George to Toronto instead of to Los Angeles forced the Clippers to put a massive offer on the table to ensure that they secured not only George but Kawhi Leonard as well.

[RELATED: Thunder to trade Paul George to Clippers]

Wojnarowski’s report suggested that Thunder head of basketball operations Sam Presti had been open to pursuing a deal with the Raptors that would have sent both George and Russell Westbrook to Toronto, with Pascal Siakam as the centerpiece of the deal. However, Raps president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri balked at the idea, and talks didn’t gain traction.

Bruce Arthur of The Toronto Star adds a few more details to that report, tweeting that the Thunder asked for Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and four unprotected first-round picks as a starting point for George.

Arthur’s report doesn’t make clear whether Westbrook was involved in that proposal, or which veteran(s) the Raptors would have had to include for salary-matching purposes. However, according to Arthur, the Raptors believed they were being used as leverage — and also believed that Leonard would be headed home to Los Angeles.

[RELATED: Russell Westbrook mulling possibility of being traded]

Wojnarowski’s and Arthur’s sources paint a similar picture of the Raptors’ involvement in these trade talks with the Thunder. It sounds as if things never really got all that serious from Toronto’s side, given their concern that they were being used to get more out of the Clippers, but OKC had to make the Clippers believe that sending George to the Raptors was a real possibility. Ujiri and Raps GM Bobby Webster didn’t have the ability or the inclination to top the Clippers’ offer, league sources told Wojnarowski.

It’s possible that the Raptors would’ve made a stronger push for George if they’d known that acquiring him would lead directly to a long-term commitment from Leonard, but there’s no indication that was the case.

As Wojnarowski reported, the Clippers believed Kawhi would go to the Lakers if the Clips couldn’t acquire PG13 — assuming they were right, it’s not clear that Toronto acquiring George would have changed that.

Heat Acquire Jimmy Butler In Sign-And-Trade

The Heat have officially acquired Jimmy Butler from the Sixers in a sign-and-trade deal that also includes the Trail Blazers and the Clippers, according to press releases from Miami and Philadelphia.

The Heat also acquired big man Meyers Leonard from the Trail Blazers and cash considerations from the Clippers. Miami sent shooting guard Josh Richardson to Philadelphia, center Hassan Whiteside to the Blazers and a conditional first-round pick to the Clippers. The Clippers also received forward Maurice Harkless from Portland and the draft rights to 2017 second-round pick Mathias Lessort from the Sixers.

The Clippers and Blazers have also confirmed the swap.

The 2023 first-rounder that the Heat forwarded to the Clippers, which is lottery-protected through 2025 and unprotected in 2026, was subsequently moved to the Thunder as part of the agreed-upon Paul George blockbuster.

Butler inked a four-year, $141MM contract with the Heat. Miami waived forward Ryan Anderson and stretched his contract in order to stay below the hard cap and complete the sign-and-trade.

“Jimmy’s leadership, tenacity, professionalism, defensive disposition and his ability to create his own shot will improve our roster immediately,” Miami president Pat Riley said in the press release. “Any time you can add a four-time All-Star to your roster, you make that move. Meyers is a versatile big, a great shooter, can play inside and block shots. The addition of both men puts us in a great position to win.”

The disgruntled Butler was dealt by Minnesota to Philadelphia last season. The Sixers wanted to retain Butler but couldn’t convince him to stay and got something for him via the sign-and-trade mechanism. In 65 total games for the Wolves and Sixers last season, Butler averaged 18.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.0 APG, and 1.9 SPG with a .462/.347/.855 shooting line. Richardson averaged a career-high 16.6 PPG and 4.1 APG last season.

Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey called the acquisition of Whiteside an “impact move for our roster.” The Blazers were looking for a starting center with Jusuf Nurkic on the mend from a serious leg injury.