Jared Butler

Southeast Notes: F. Wagner, Rozier, Butler, Hayward

The Magic got good news on Monday, according to Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel, who reports (via Twitter) that Franz Wagner will be questionable for Tuesday’s contest in Houston. An MRI confirmed the initial diagnosis of a right ankle sprain, Beede adds, but the fact that the third-year forward has a chance to suit up tomorrow after exiting Sunday’s contest with the injury is a positive development.

Wagner, who helped Germany win a gold medal at last year’s World Cup, will be eligible for a rookie scale extension in the offseason. The 22-year-old has averaged 19.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.8 APG and 1.0 SPG through 70 games (32.4 MPG) for Orlando, which is currently 46-32, the No. 3 seed in the East.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Heat guard Terry Rozier said he hurt his team by suiting up in Sunday’s loss to Indiana due to a neck injury that limited his effectiveness and caused him to sit out the entire fourth quarter. He’s questionable for Tuesday’s game vs. Atlanta, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (subscriber link).
  • Wizards guard Jared Butler was recently promoted from a two-way deal to a three-year standard contract. His new contract pays him $1.25MM for 2023/24, but it doesn’t feature any guaranteed money beyond this season, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Washington, which completed the signing using a portion of its mid-level exception, will hold a team option on Butler for ’25/26, Scotto adds.
  • Sunday marked a homecoming of sorts for Gordon Hayward, who signed a lucrative long-term deal with the Hornets four years ago before being traded to the Thunder in February, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Perhaps fittingly in an unfortunate sort of way, the oft-injured veteran sat out the game with a lower left leg injury. Boone argues Hayward’s $120MM contract should be a cautionary tale for the new front office to spend wisely when signing free agents going forward.

Wizards Sign Jared Butler To Three-Year Deal

4:20pm: Butler has officially been promoted and Livers has been released, the Wizards announced in a press release.

2:33pm: The Wizards intend to waive Livers to make room on the roster for Butler, confirms Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link).

2:21pm: The Wizards and third-year guard Jared Butler have reached an agreement on a three-year contract, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). The deal will promote Butler to the 15-man roster and will keep him under team control for two seasons after this one.

While the exact details aren’t yet known, Butler’s new contract will likely feature little to no guaranteed salary beyond 2023/24. The Wizards will use a portion of their mid-level exception to give him a deal that covers more than just two seasons.

The No. 40 overall pick in the 2021 draft, Butler began his NBA career in Utah but was waived ahead of his second season in October 2022. He finished the ’22/23 season on a two-way contract with the Thunder, then signed a two-year deal with Washington last July.

In 35 games as a Wizard, Butler has averaged 5.6 points, 2.9 assists, and 1.3 rebounds in 13.0 minutes per contest, with a shooting line of .490/.313/.885. He has been a regular part of the rotation in recent weeks, appearing in each of Washington’s last 13 games and averaging 21.3 minutes in those outings.

The Wizards currently have a full 15-man standard roster, so someone will need to be waived in order to make room for Butler. Isaiah Livers, who is on an expiring contract and is out for the season due to a hip injury, is the likeliest candidate.

Since the deadline to sign a player to a two-way contract passed last month, Washington won’t be able to fill Butler’s two-way slot once he’s promoted.

Wizards Notes: Vukcevic, Young Players, Coulibaly, More

Second-round pick Tristan Vukcevic spent much of the 2023/24 season in Europe, but he signed a two-year contract with the Wizards a couple weeks ago. He has been active for three games so far, averaging just 5.3 minutes in those outings. He says he’s still adjusting to the speed of the NBA, according to Bijan Todd of Monumental Sports Network.

It’s a different game, I think,” Vukcevic said. “It’s more fast-paced, less plays. I think Europe is just more, like, textbook basketball, and that’s just something I have to learn. It’s a learning process, the speed, the pace and everything.”

The 21-year-old was thrilled to make his debut last weekend after having a limited role overseas, Todd adds.

It felt amazing. It was kind of unexpected, in a way, but I was very happy to be thrown into the fire and be out there,” Vukcevic said. “I haven’t played since like January, a lot of games in Europe, so I was just happy to play the sport I love.”

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Jared Butler and Justin Champagnie are among the young players who have made key contributions in recent games with several rotation regulars injured, writes Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network. Both Butler and Champagnie are on two-way contracts with the Wizards, who have won three of their past four games to move ahead of the last-place Pistons.
  • Rookie lottery pick Bilal Coulibaly will miss the rest of the season after fracturing his right wrist. Once the injury heals, the 19-year-old hopes to play for Team France at the 2024 Olympics in Paris this summer, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter links). I will, for sure, try to be on the team,” Coulibaly said. “But, yeah, we’ll see. I mean, coaches make their choices, and I totally respect it. So, yeah, we’ll see.”
  • During Wednesday’s press conference announcing that the Wizards reached an agreement to stay in the District of Columbia long-term, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the team intends to build a new practice facility in the area, as Ava Wallace of The Washington Post relays (via Twitter).

Eastern Notes: Bailey, Herro, Wiseman, Butler

Second-round pick Amari Bailey averaged 9.3 points in 16.1 minutes per game in Summer League and the Hornets rookie found the experience very beneficial, he told Sarah Efress of The Charlotte Observer.

“It was just an amazing experience, being able to spend time with some of the guys on the team and the coaches as well. I feel like we have a great family dynamic around the whole organization,” Bailey said. “Given us being somewhat of a younger team, I feel like I can come in and just work right with everyone else. I feel like we’re very hungry, so there’s a lot to look forward to here.” Bailey signed a two-way contract with the Hornets last month.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • If Tyler Herro is re-routed in a potential blockbuster between the Heat and Trail Blazers, the Raptors should only be moderately interested in being the third team, Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes in a mailbag piece. While the Raptors could use a high-level shooter and scorer like Herro, he’s a defensive liability and the Raptors are not in a position where they should be giving away more first-round picks, Koreen opines.
  • If the Pistons can unlock James Wiseman‘s overall game to match his physical gifts, they’ll have two premier young centers, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. Wiseman is expected to share minutes with Jalen Duren, a late lottery pick last year who turned heads during his stint with the USA Select Team. Wiseman felt reinvigorated merely by getting an opportunity to play through his mistakes after he was traded from Golden State, Langlois notes.
  • Jared Butler was arguably the Thunder’s best player during his four Summer League appearances, averaging 20.0 points and 4.3 assists per game, Bijan Todd of the NBC Sports Washington writes. Todd takes a closer look at Butler, who signed a two-way deal with the Wizards last month.

Wizards Sign Jared Butler To Two-Way Deal

JULY 28: The Wizards have officially signed Butler, according to a press release from the team. The club has one open two-way slot remaining.

JULY 24: The Wizards have agreed to sign free agent point guard Jared Butler to a two-way deal, his agent Mark Bartelstein at Priority Sports informs Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Butler, 22, was selected with the No. 40 overall pick out of Baylor in 2021. He played out his rookie season with the Jazz, who waived him ahead of the 2022/23 season. He joined the Nuggets’ NBAGL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold, at the start of last season, before eventually latching on with the Thunder on a two-way deal this past March.

Across 48 total NBA contests in his two seasons of experience, Butler holds averages of 4.1 PPG on .415/.343/.688 shooting, along with 1.5 APG.

Last year in the NBAGL, he enjoyed significantly more run, and accordingly had more impressive stats. He posted averages of 16.7 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.3 RPG, and 0.9 SPG in his 27 total games split between the Grand Rapids Gold and the Thunders’ G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue.

Contract/Cap Notes: Middleton, Lopez, C. Johnson, Watanabe, More

The three-year contract Khris Middleton signed with the Bucks only has a base value of about $93MM, well below the reported figure of $102MM, reports ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).

As Marks explains, the deal features approximately $9MM in total incentives — $2MM are currently considered likely to be earned, while the other $7MM are unlikely (meaning Middleton and/or the Bucks didn’t achieve the criteria last season). For now, the forward’s annual cap hits, which take into account his base salaries and likely incentives, will be $29.3MM, $31.7MM, and $34MM.

Meanwhile, Brook Lopez‘s two-year, $48MM contract with the Bucks has a declining structure, according to Marks. The veteran center will earn $25MM in 2023/24 and $23MM in ’24/25.

Here are a few more contract and cap details from around the NBA:

  • Marks also has the specifics (via Twitter) on Cameron Johnson‘s four-year contract with the Nets, which includes several incentives and declines in years two and three before rising again in year four. Johnson has base salaries of $24.5MM, $22.5MM, $20.5MM, and $22.5MM, with annual bonuses of $4.9MM, $4.5MM, $4.1MM, and $4.5MM. Currently, a total of $4.4MM of those incentives are considered likely, while the other $13.6MM are unlikely.
  • The Sunsdeal with Yuta Watanabe is a two-year, minimum-salary agreement with a second-year player option, confirms Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). That was the common structure on the contracts Phoenix offered to free agents — Eric Gordon, Keita Bates-Diop, and Drew Eubanks received similar deals.
  • A pair of two-way contracts that have been signed early in the 2023/24 league year will cover two seasons instead of just one. Craig Porter‘s deal with the Cavaliers and Jaylen Martin‘s agreement with the Knicks are each for two years, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter links).
  • A handful of teams using cap room this season have renounced their free agent rights to one or more players in order to maximize their space. According to RealGM’s transaction log, the Pacers (George Hill), Kings (Terence Davis, Jeremy Lamb, Corey Brewer), Pistons (Hamidou Diallo, Rodney McGruder, and Buddy Boeheim), and Thunder (eight players, including Dario Saric, Jared Butler, and Nick Collison) all renounced players. In some cases, those cap holds had been on teams’ books for multiple seasons — they won’t be there going forward.

Thunder Notes: SGA, Butler, Jaylin Williams

Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman (subscriber link) calls Shai Gilgeous-Alexander another “too-good-to-be-true superstar,” noting that the fifth-year guard went out of his way to wear a Thunder– and Oklahoma City-inspired jacket to his first All-Star game. As Tramel writes, Gilgeous-Alexander may not have had the prospect pedigree of Kevin Durant, but he has developed into a star in his own right, and the 24-year-old is a “consummate leader, forever saying and doing the right things.”

When Tramel brought his “too-good-to-be-true” theory up to head coach Mark Daigneault, he readily agreed.

Part of the reason why it’s too good to be true, is because he doesn’t separate himself out,” Daigneault said of SGA. “Even with all the temptations and all the attention and status and money, and all the stuff that could tempt you to separate yourself.

And really, there’s nothing in the NBA stopping players from doing that. You’re kind of at the mercy of whether they want to. Fortunately for us, he’s on that track. He’s already checked a lot of those boxes. And yet, he wants to do it inside the team. He wants to do it inside the organization, he wants to be part of something bigger than himself.”

Gilgeous-Alexander’s maturity and team-first mentality, not to mention his long-term contract that runs through 2026/27, seems to bode well for the Thunder as they continue to build around him, according to Tramel.

Here’s more on the Thunder:

  • Gilgeous-Alexander cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Saturday and was able to suit up on Sunday, tweets Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Gilgeous-Alexander missed five consecutive games with a combination of an abdominal strain, right ankle soreness and then entering the protocols. The Thunder went just 1-4 in his absence, but were victorious last night against Utah. The 24-year-old didn’t miss a beat in his return, recording 38 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block.
  • Daigneault said Thunder GM Sam Presti was high on guard Jared Butler entering the 2021 draft, per Mussatto (Twitter link). Butler just signed a two-way deal with Oklahoma City last week, making one brief appearance thus far. The Thunder had four picks ahead of where Butler was selected (No. 40 overall), including two in the 30s, so they had multiple chances to take him. Instead, they wound up packaging the Nos. 34 and 36 picks (used on Rokas Jokubaitis and Miles McBride) in a trade to land Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (No. 32).
  • In an article for The Oklahoman, Mussatto details how rookie big man Jaylin Williams and the Thunder have perfected the art of drawing charges. The team has a league-leading 83 charges on the season, far exceeding the Heat’s 63, which ranks second. Williams is a ground-bound center, but he uses his game knowledge to protect the rim in a different way. “It stems from my dad,” he said, “just watching film with him from a young age, me understanding the game and understanding there’s more than basketball than putting the rock through the rim.”

Jared Butler Signs Two-Way Contract With Thunder

MARCH 3: Butler has officially signed a two-way contract with the Thunder, according to a press release from the team.

MARCH 2: The Thunder intend to sign guard Jared Butler to a two-way contract, his agent, Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Butler was a key member of the national champion Baylor Bears in 2021, averaging 16.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 4.8 APG and 2.0 SPG while shooting 41.6% from 3-point range as a junior. However, questions about his health hurt his draft stock and he slipped to No. 40 overall in the 2021 draft after having been considered a likely first-rounder.

The 22-year-old spent his rookie season with the Jazz, appearing sparingly in 42 games (8.6 MPG) while averaging 3.8 PPG and 1.5 APG on .404/.318/.688 shooting. Utah had a roster crunch during preseason this past fall and ultimately released Butler despite the fact that his $1.56MM salary for this season was guaranteed.

Butler has spent the 2022/23 season with the Grand Rapids Gold, Denver’s G League affiliate, averaging 19.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.2 APG and 1.2 SPG on .483/.458/.771 shooting in 18 games (30.1 MPG) during the fall Showcase Cup. He has averaged 17.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 5.8 APG on .438/.354/.840 shooting in 23 regular season games (30.2 MPG) with the Gold.

The Thunder had an open two-way slot, so they won’t need to cut anyone to sign Butler. Their 17-man roster will be full once the move is official.

Spurs Rumors: Poeltl, Richardson, McDermott, 15th Man, Wesley

Center Jakob Poeltl is the player that the Spurs have gotten the most trade inquiries about, according to LJ Ellis of SpursTalk, who repeats what he reported last month, writing that the team continues to seek two lightly protected first-round picks in any deal involving the big man.

The Raptors and Warriors are among the teams that have shown the most interest in Poeltl, sources tell Ellis. Toronto has thus far been unwilling to offer a package headlined by more than one moderately protected first-round pick, Ellis writes.

As for a potential fit with Golden State, Ellis hears that the Spurs aren’t especially interested in James Wiseman or Jonathan Kuminga as the centerpiece of a hypothetical Poeltl trade. According to Ellis, San Antonio likes Moses Moody the most out of the Warriors’ three young prospects, but would want more than just Moody for Poeltl. In other words, Golden State would likely have to be willing to part with future draft assets to have a chance to land the veteran center.

The Spurs’ other trade candidates include Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott. Ellis says the club still wants a first-round pick in any deal involving Richardson, while McDermott will likely remain in San Antonio through the trade deadline unless a team offers a first-rounder for him.

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • Having recently signed Alize Johnson to a non-guaranteed contract to provide frontcourt depth following injuries to Poeltl and Jeremy Sochan, the Spurs will likely cut Johnson and sign a perimeter player once their regulars get healthy, sources tell Ellis. Bringing back Jordan Hall is one possibility, and San Antonio has also been doing its homework on former Jazz guard Jared Butler. One longer-shot candidate for that 15th roster spot, according to Ellis, is Isaiah Thomas, who could be a target if the front office feels as if the scoring burden on youngsters like Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell is getting too heavy.
  • Richardson is expected to return to action on Thursday vs. Houston after missing six games due to a right ankle sprain, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. McDermott, out for two games with a sprained right ankle of his own, will also likely be back on Thursday, Orsborn adds (via Twitter).
  • Spurs rookie Blake Wesley, who is recovering from a torn MCL, still has no official timeline for a return, but the club is hoping he’ll be back later this month, according to Orsborn (Twitter link).

Jared Butler Joining Nuggets’ G League Affiliate

Former Jazz guard Jared Butler is joining the Grand Rapids Gold, the Nuggets‘ G League affiliate, reports Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Butler didn’t sign with Denver at all after being waived by Utah last month, so the Gold didn’t previously have exclusive G League rights to the former second-round pick — he likely signed an NBAGL contract and then was claimed by Grand Rapids.

Butler was a key member of the national champion Baylor Bears in 2021, 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. However, questions about his health hurt his draft stock and he slipped to No. 40 overall in last year’s draft after having been considered a likely first-rounder.

Although the Jazz raved last fall about Butler’s performance in training camp, he appeared sparingly in 42 games as a rookie, averaging 3.8 PPG and 1.5 APG on .404/.318/.688 shooting, and didn’t survive a roster crunch in Utah during the 2022 preseason. The team cut him despite the fact that his $1.56MM salary for this season was guaranteed.

NBA teams who may be in need of backcourt help will be keeping a close eye on Butler with the Gold, according to Stein. As Stein observes, Grand Rapids’ new head coach is longtime NBA point guard Andre Miller, who should be a good mentor for the 22-year-old.