Jared Butler

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.

Jazz Waive Cody Zeller, Jared Butler

3:14pm: In addition to waiving Zeller, the Jazz are also cutting Jared Butler, according to Jones and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The team has issued a press release confirming that Zeller and Butler have been waived, reducing the roster count to 15 players on standard contracts.

The decision to waive Butler comes as a bit of a surprise, since the team was very high on the former Baylor guard after drafting him 40th overall a year ago.

Butler appeared in 42 games as a rookie, averaging 3.8 PPG and 1.5 APG on .404/.318/.688 shooting. Utah will be on the hook for his guaranteed $1,563,518 salary unless he’s claimed on waivers on Monday.

2:42pm: Cody Zeller won’t make Utah’s regular season roster, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the Jazz are waiving the veteran center.

Zeller fell victim to the roster crunch in Utah in part due to the nature of his contract. His minimum salary for 2022/23 is fully non-guaranteed, so the team won’t be on the hook for any dead money after cutting him.

The fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft, Zeller spent his first eight NBA seasons in Charlotte, then played for Portland in 2021/22. He played a limited role for the Blazers last season, averaging 5.2 PPG and 4.6 RPG in a career-low 13.1 minutes off the bench in 27 games before a right patellar avulsion fracture ended his season.

Having waived Saben Lee, Stanley Johnson, and Zeller, the Jazz will have one more roster move to make to get down to the regular season limit of 15 players on standard contracts. The club still has 16 players with guaranteed salaries. Udoka Azubuike, Leandro Bolmaro, and Rudy Gay are among the candidates to be the odd man out.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Butler, Coaching Staff

There’s an “overwhelming feeling” among NBA insiders that Donovan Mitchell will leave the Jazz when his contract expires in 2025 if he’s not traded before then, writes Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. That explains why Utah is exploring the trade market for the three-time All-Star even though he has three years plus a player option left on his contract.

Mitchell spent most of this offseason in his native New York City and still considers the area to be home, Larsen adds. The Knicks have been engaged in trade talks involving Mitchell, but those discussions have stalled as New York is unwilling to meet Utah’s hefty asking price of young players and draft assets.

There’s a sense that Mitchell may want to leave Salt Lake City for a larger market that would give him a chance to get more exposure and more money from sponsors, according to Larsen, who cites Miami as another potential destination.

There’s more from Utah:

  • Mitchell is likely to be moved before the start of the season, if only because the “optics” will make that an easier choice for the Jazz than bringing him back, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News opines in a mailbag column. Todd believes the Knicks are the most likely destination, but another team may have to be involved to get the deal completed. She speculates that other roster moves will be determined by whatever the team gets in return for Mitchell.
  • If the Jazz decide to commit fully to rebuilding, the upcoming season will be very important for Jared Butler, Todd adds in the same piece. The 21-year-old shooting guard was taken with the 40th pick in the 2021 draft, but he saw limited playing time as a rookie, averaging just 8.6 minutes per night in 42 games. If Mitchell is traded, Butler should have plenty of opportunity to prove he can succeed at the NBA level.
  • Assistant coach Bryan Bailey is being promoted to the front of the Jazz bench, alongside Alex Jensen and Lamar Skeeter, tweets Tony Jones of the Athletic. All three served on former coach Quin Snyder‘s staff. In addition, Utah will hire former Spurs staffer Sean Sheldon to their coaching staff, according to Jones.

Jazz Notes: Butler, Mitchell, Morrison, Summer League

Second-year Jazz shooting guard Jared Butler is facing a pivotal 2022/23 season, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. Drafted with the No. 40 pick in 2021 out of Baylor, Butler was signed by Utah to a two-year deal. To justify a qualifying offer from Jazz management next summer, Jones writes, Butler will have to earn a rotation spot, which isn’t a given even if All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell is dealt before or during the year.

During his rookie season, Butler averaged just 3.8 PPG, 1.5 APG and 1.1 RPG in 42 games (8.6 MPG), and his 2022 Summer League output was inconsistent. Butler, listed at 6’3″ (though Jones estimates his height as being closer to 6’1″), had trouble in a variety of facets on offense, especially when it came to creating enough space between himself and his defender to effectively score. Jones does note that Butler has improved in the pick-and-roll.

There’s more out of Salt Lake City:

  • As the Jazz continue to contemplate trades centered around Mitchell, Tim MacMahon of ESPN (YouTube video link) posits that the team should move on from its lone remaining All-Star in the near future so that new head coach Will Hardy is free to operate with a team in full rebuild mode. “Let’s be honest, the Jazz don’t want 34-year-old first-time head coach Will Hardy to go into training camp and have the Donovan Mitchell saga, the Donovan Mitchell drama, dominate the storyline on a day-to-day basis,” MacMahon said. Mitchell has four years and $134.9MM remaining on his current contract.
  • The Jazz will be adding a new member to their extended coaching staff. Scott Morrison, who coached NBL squad the Perth Wildcats during the 2021/22 season and was on Boston’s staff alongside Hardy, will serve as the new head coach for Utah’s NBAGL club, the Salt Lake City Stars, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Morrison was previously the head coach of the Celtics’ G League club, then known as the Maine Red Claws (now the Maine Celtics of the NBA G League), from 2014-17. He was honored as the NBA G League Coach of the Year in 2015 for his efforts.
  • Several developing Jazz players had intriguing Summer League turns this year. Sarah Todd of the Deseret News unpacks the performances of Utah’s young Summer League competitors, including second-year players Butler and Leandro Bolmaro, new two-way player Johnny Juzang, and veteran 7’6″ center Tacko Fall.