John Butler

Wizards Waive John Butler Jr.

DECEMBER 8: Butler has officially been waived, the Wizards confirmed today. As we outlined in a separate story, Jules Bernard has filled the two-way opening created by Butler’s release.

DECEMBER 7: The Wizards are waiving forward/center John Butler Jr., a league source tells Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link). Butler is on a two-way deal with Washington.

According to Robbins, if Butler clears waivers, the plan is for him to sign a NBA G League contract with the Wizards’ affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go. He would remain an unrestricted free agent if that comes to fruition, as NBA deals take precedence over G League contracts.

Butler went undrafted last year after one college season at Florida State. He signed a two-way deal with New Orleans, but was waived after 10 days, and caught on with Portland shortly thereafter. He spent all of 2022/23 — his rookie season — on a two-way contract with the Trail Blazers, appearing in 19 games while averaging 2.4 points in 11.6 minutes per contest.

The 21-year-old re-signed with Portland on a two-way deal in July, but was waived on October 20, just before the ’23/24 season began. He caught on with Washington a few days later, but didn’t appear in any NBA games for the Wizards this fall.

Butler has appeared in nine Showcase Cup games with the Go-Go this season, averaging 7.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 22.7 minutes.

The Wizards have 15 players on standard contracts, but they’ll have a two-way opening once the move is official.

John Butler Signs Two-Way Contract With Wizards

11:16am: The signing is official, the Wizards announced (via Twitter).

8:32am: Free agent center John Butler will join the Wizards on a two-way contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The 20-year-old was waived by the Trail Blazers on Friday. He spent last season with Portland on a two-way deal and appeared in 19 games, averaging 2.4 points and 0.9 rebounds in 11.6 minutes per night.

Butler signed a two-way contract with the Pelicans last October after going undrafted out of Florida State. He was waived after a week and was picked up by the Blazers a few days later.

Washington now has all its two-way slots filled, with the others belonging to Eugene Omoruyi and Jared Butler. The Wizards still have 17 players with guaranteed contracts and will have to make two cuts by 4:00 pm CT today.

Trail Blazers Convert Justin Minaya To Two-Way Deal; Waive Two Others

6:35pm: Minaya has officially been converted to a two-way deal, according to’s transactions log, while Conditt and Butler have been waived.

3:57pm: Small forward Justin Minaya has agreed to a two-way contract with the Trail Blazers, agent Jared Mucha tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

The 24-year-old finished last season with Portland on a hardship 10-day contract and appeared in four games. He re-signed with the Blazers in early October.

Sources tell Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report that John Butler will be waived to open a two-way slot for Minaya (Twitter link). The 20-year-old center re-signed with Portland in July after spending last season on a two-way deal. He appeared in 19 games, averaging 2.4 PPG and 0.9 RPG in limited minutes.

The team’s other two-way spots belong to Ibou Badji and Skylar Mays.

Highkin also reports that George Conditt, who has an Exhibit 10 contract, will be waived today and is expected to wind up with the Rip City Remix, the organization’s new G League affiliate (Twitter link).

Highkin hears that Moses Brown is likely to make the team, so the battle for the final roster spot appears to be between Duop Reath and Kevin Knox (Twitter link).

Trail Blazers Re-Sign John Butler To Two-Way Contract

The Trail Blazers have re-signed big man John Butler to a two-way contract, according to the official transaction log at

Butler, 20, initially signed with the Blazers on a two-way deal last October after going undrafted out of Florida State. He appeared in 19 NBA games as a rookie, averaging 2.4 points and 0.9 rebounds in 11.6 minutes per night.

Because Portland didn’t have a G League affiliate last season, Butler didn’t get much of a chance to develop at the NBAGL level, appearing in just six games for the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s affiliate.

However, the Blazers liked what they saw from Butler enough to issue him a two-way qualifying offer in June. Now that he’s back on a second two-way deal, he should have an opportunity to get regular playing time this fall for Portland’s new G League team, the Rip City Remix.

Butler and Ibou Badji are currently on two-way deals with the Blazers, leaving one open slot.

No QOs For Suns’ Bazley, Cavs’ Windler, Heat’s Yurtseven

The Suns opted not to issue a qualifying offer to forward Darius Bazley, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). As a result, Bazley will become an unrestricted free agent rather than restricted.

The decision doesn’t come as a huge surprise, since Bazley’s qualifying offer would have been worth approximately $6.2MM. While it’s not clear if Phoenix is interested in re-signing the former first-round pick, the team will hold his Bird rights and could probably re-sign him at a more team-friendly rate.

Cavaliers wing Dylan Windler also didn’t receive a qualifying offer and will become an unrestricted free agent, reports Scotto (Twitter link).

Windler was never considered likely to get a QO, which would’ve been worth just shy of $6MM. He has been limited by injuries in his first four NBA seasons and hasn’t become a rotation player in Cleveland, appearing in just 84 total games.

Heat center Omer Yurtseven is another player who was eligible for a qualifying offer but didn’t receive one, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link).

Yurtseven’s QO is only worth a projected $2.22MM ($200K more than his minimum salary), but the Heat will be cost-conscious about how they fill out their roster, given that their team salary projects to go well beyond the luxury tax line.

The following players did receive qualifying offers and will be restricted free agents:

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Malone, Anderson, Sexton, Butler

After their loss to Toronto on Tuesday, the Nuggets have now dropped four straight games, and they haven’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of opponents during that time. In addition to the loss to Toronto, Denver’s recent defeats have been at the hands of Chicago (by 21 points), San Antonio, and Brooklyn, with two of them coming at home.

On Tuesday, head coach Michael Malone suggested the Nuggets seem to be in “chill mode,” adding that the team needs to find a way to get its “swagger” back (story via

“Maybe we’ve gotten a little soft with success,” Malone said. “We’ve been on cruise control for so long, No. 1 in the West since like December 15. I just told our players we’ve gotten away from who we are.”

The Nuggets still control the No. 1 spot in the West by four games with just 13 left to play, but Malone will want to see his team firing on all cylinders entering the postseason, since there will be significant pressure on Denver – and its head coach – to make a deep playoff run, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Adam Mares of DNVR Sports discussed on the latest episode of The Lowe Post podcast.

“I don’t know if it’s championship or bust, but if this team loses before the conference finals, it’s going to be a disappointment,” Lowe said (hat tip to RealGM). “If they lose in the first round, it’s going to be a catastrophe that I think will push some potential changes.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • While this season hasn’t played out quite how the Timberwolves hoped, their signing of Kyle Anderson has turned into one of the best free agent additions in team history, contends Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. As Krawczynski acknowledges, Minnesota doesn’t exactly have a long history of great free agent signings, but Anderson’s impact on this year’s club shouldn’t be understated.
  • Jazz guard Collin Sexton, who has been sidelined since February 15 due to a hamstring strain, is “dying” to get back on the court, head coach Will Hardy said this week. “He’s getting close,” Hardy said, according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. “… It’s frustrating ’cause he’s such a competitor and he wants to be out there. But he finds a way to channel all that energy to let it rip on the bench. I’ve had to tell him to sit down multiple times ’cause of the new rule where you can’t stand in the corner, and I’ve had multiple officials say, ‘Hey, you gotta tell Sexton to sit down.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m trying, but I can’t really control him — that’s how he is.'”
  • After appearing in six G League games with Sacramento’s affiliate, Trail Blazers two-way player John Butler Jr. has been transferred back to Portland, the team announced on Tuesday (via Twitter). The Blazers don’t have an NBAGL team of their own, so Butler was in Stockton, where he averaged 8.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 3.2 BPG in 24.0 MPG.

Northwest Notes: Timberwolves, SGA, Jokic, Gordon, Butler

Following a disappointing 121-113 Friday night defeat to the lottery-bound Hornets, the Timberwolves came under fire from their own head coach and starting center, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

“It’s just a sense of urgency,” head coach Chris Finch said of what the Timberwolves are missing. “It’s just not there. We just talked about it – you can’t wait. It’s a 20-game season. We have nothing to wait for. You’ve got to go. We only have seven home games left and we’ve got a tough schedule. I think it’s just that urgency. We’ve got to have more urgency from the get-go. We’re not playing desperate enough.”

Minnesota big man Rudy Gobert had a solid individual night, scoring 17 points, pulling down 10 boards and swatting three shots, but was frustrated with his club’s effort.

“We have to decide who we want to be,” said Gobert. “We had a tough loss going into the break, and you would think we would come back with some urgency, but we started the game just like we finished the previous one.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • All-Star Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will miss his second straight game, the team’s home contest against the Kings Sunday, due to an abdominal strain and a sore right ankle, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The ankle isn’t considered a major issue. “I think if that was the only thing he was dealing with, he would probably try to go,” head coach Mark Daigneault said. “But the hip flexor thing (abdominal strain) is what we’re being careful with.”
  • The burgeoning bond between the Nuggets‘ starting frontcourt of MVP candidate Nikola Jokic and power forward Aaron Gordon is paying dividends on the hardwood, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. “The load that he can carry … he is a really strong guy,” Jokic said of Gordon. “He’s making sure he’s taking that advantage really seriously. It’s always an option for us … I know where to find him, how to throw him the ball. And he knows how to box his guys out to give me the space to throw him the ball.”
  • With no G League affiliate team of their own, the Trail Blazers announced (Twitter link) that they have transferred rookie center John Butler to the Kings’ Stockton NBAGL affiliate. The 7’1″ big man has played sparingly thus far while on his two-way contract with Portland, appearing in mop-up minutes in just nine games.

Trail Blazers Sign John Butler To Two-Way Deal

OCTOBER 20: The Blazers have officially signed Butler to his two-way contract, the team announced today in a press release.

OCTOBER 17: The Trail Blazers intend to add free agent power forward/center John Butler on a two-way deal, sources inform Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The 7’1″ big man went undrafted this year after spending one NCAA season with Florida State. Butler played with the Pelicans in the Summer League and during the preseason, before being waived by New Orleans last week.

During his lone collegiate season, the 19-year-old posted averages of 5.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 0.7 APG across 31 games, including 24 starts. He shot a promising 43.9% from long range on 2.6 attempts a night, though he also converted a lowly 44% of his looks at the charity stripe.

Butler’s impending deal with the Trail Blazers will actually be his second two-way contract this month. He initially saw his training camp contract with the Pelicans converted into a two-way deal before he was cut.

Butler joins another seven-footer, big man Olivier Sarr, in filling Portland’s pair of two-way contract openings heading into the season.

Pelicans Add Martin, Smart; Waive Butler, Petty Jr.

The Pelicans signed forward Kelan Martin and guard Javonte Smart while waiving two-way forward John Butler and guard John Petty Jr., according to a team press release.

Terms weren’t disclosed but Martin and Smart likely signed Exhibit 10 contracts. They would presumably be candidates for the team’s open two-way slot, since Butler had his camp deal converted to a two-way last week.

Otherwise, they’ll likely be waived and join the G League Birmingham Squadron, which would make them each eligible for a $50K bonus if they spend at least 60 days with that club.

Martin has appeared in 96 NBA games since 2019 with Minnesota, Indiana and Boston, averaging 5.5 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.6 assists. Martin appeared in 30 games last season with the Celtics and Pacers.

Smart, who went undrafted in 2021 out of LSU, appeared in 17 games with the Bucks and Heat last season, averaging 3.0 points, 1.4 rebounds and 0.9 assists.

Butler played last season at Florida State, where he averaged 5.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 31 games. He saw action in one preseason game.

Petty Jr. appeared in 31 games for the Birmingham Squadron last season. Petty was on an Exhibit 10 deal and will likely return to the Squadron, with Butler joining him.

Pelicans Convert John Butler To Two-Way Contract

John Butler has received a two-way contract from the Pelicans, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets.

New Orleans signed Butler to an Exhibit 10 contract late last month.

Butler, a 7’2″ center, played four games with the Pelicans during summer league this year. He averaged 8.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 16.7 minutes, shooting 12-of-16 from the floor (75%) and 6-of-9 from three-point range (67%). The 19-year-old went undrafted out of Florida State in June.

An intriguing prospect, Butler will likely spend the bulk of his rookie season in the G League. He spent only one season in college and posted modest stats for the Seminoles despite starting 24 of 31 games. He averaged 5.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 19 minutes per game but showed a nice 3-point touch (39.3%).

The Pelicans had an open two-way slot, with Dereon Seabron in possession of the other two-way deal.