Davis Inks With LeBron Agent, To Meet With Pelicans – New Orleans Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis officially signed with agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports after signing paperwork over the weekend. Davis told ESPN on Sunday that he’s hoping to elevate the Pelicans to a new level this season and the agent switch is part of an effort to improve his overall game. “My focus is to win, to come in every day and do all I can go help this organization,” Davis said. “While establishing myself as the best player on the floor every night.” A star player switching agents sometimes can create the implication that he wants to change teams. Paul, who represents more than 20 NBA players, told ESPN that is not the case and he plans to meet with Pelicans officials soon. Davis is eligible to sign up to a five-year, $235 million extension with the Pelicans next summer. Davis, who averaged 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game last year, can become an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
KAT, Wolves Agree To Super-Max Deal – In a deal that cements him as the franchise’s long-term cornerstone, Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns has agreed to a five-year, $190 million super-maximum extension, league sources told ESPN. Towns’ agent, Leon Rose of CAA Sports, informed the organization of Towns’ intention to sign the extension on Saturday night, sources said. The Timberwolves report for media day on Monday and begin training camp on Tuesday. In a statement, Towns said: “On June 25, 2015, I was drafted to and committed to the Minnesota Timberwolves. On September 22, 2018, I made a recommitment to the Wolves and have the same feelings of excitement that I felt back in 2015.” The super-max deal includes the ability for Towns to earn 30 percent of the Timberwolves’ salary cap with the fulfillment of reaching one of the three All-NBA teams, or being voted league MVP or Defensive Player of the Year this season. In three NBA seasons, Towns, 22, has emerged as the Timberwolves’ most significant player since Kevin Garnett. Towns, who hasn’t missed a game in his three seasons, averaged 21.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game in 2017-18.
Butler Won’t Be At Wolves’ Media Day – Jimmy Butler will not be at the Minnesota Timberwolves‘ media day Monday and won’t be participating at the start of training camp Tuesday, sources confirmed to ESPN. The Athletic was first to report Saturday that the Timberwolves granted Butler permission to miss the team activities. Butler has been the focus of a growing disconnect between Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and the team’s front office, led by president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau. ESPN reported Friday that while Thibodeau and the front office have no plans to trade Butler, Taylor has made the All-Star forward available. Taylor told other owners and executives at this week’s NBA board of governors meeting that they should contact him if they struggle to make progress in trade talks with general manager Scott Layden, sources told ESPN. Many of those attending the board of governors meetings are convinced that Taylor and top team business officials don’t want a prolonged saga with Butler, preferring to move him to a new team sooner than later.
UPDATE: Wolves Rebuffing Butler Trade Call – Rival executives lobbing calls to Minnesota‘s front office on the possibility of trading for four-time All-Star forward Jimmy Butler are getting their inquiries rebuffed, league sources told ESPN. In the aftermath of Butler’s trade request this week, Minnesota executives are telling teams that Butler’s an elite player and that the franchise intends to keep him, league sources said. Often that’s an opening message that’s followed with a query on what a prospective trade partner might offer in a hypothetical deal, but that hasn’t been the case in the Timberwolves’ dialogues with teams late this week, sources said. Nevertheless, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has become fully engaged in the decision-making process on a potential Butler trade and is far more open to the idea of orchestrating a deal than president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden, league sources said. Butler, 29, prefers a trade to the LA Clippers, and has a strong interest with the New York Knicks as well as an interest with the Brooklyn Nets, league sources said. Those three teams have the salary-cap space to sign Butler outright this summer to a maximum contract extension.
Butler Seeks Move to Nets, NYK, Clips – Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler is requesting a trade, and his three preferred destinations are the Brooklyn Nets, LA Clippers and New York Knicks, league sources told ESPN on Wednesday. Butler wants a trade to a team that plans to sign him to a five-year, maximum contract that could be worth $190 million in the summer, and his list could expand based upon the Timberwolves’ and rival teams’ willingness to negotiate a trade for him, league sources said. For now, however, Timberwolves president and coach Tom Thibodeau has no interest in trading Butler and wants to try and return to the playoffs with him in the lineup, league sources said. Miami has also been a team with interest in Butler, league sources said, but the Heat don’t have the salary cap space in July to pursue him.
NBA Finishes Mavs Probe; Cuban To Donate $10M – Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has agreed to contribute $10 million to women’s organizations but will not face any other punishment stemming from what NBA commissioner Adam Silver called “disturbing and heartbreaking” allegations of harassment and violence toward female employees within the organization, the league announced Wednesday. The NBA launched an investigation seven months ago following a Sports Illustrated report in February which described “a corporate culture rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior” that spanned decades in the Mavericks’ organization, including numerous allegations against former CEO and president Terdema Ussery, who left the Mavericks in 2015. 15 female employees by Ussery, including inappropriate comments, touching, and forcible kissing. It also found improper workplace conduct by former ticket sales employee Chris Hyde, including inappropriate comments to women of a sexual nature and the viewing and sharing of pornographic images and videos. The results of the investigation concluded the Mavericks’ management staff was “ineffective, including a lack of compliance and internal controls.” It also found that the team’s executive leadership not only allowed an improper workplace environment to exist, but also fostered the belief that those participating in that environment could flourish.
Sixers Promote Brand To GM Role – The Philadelphia 76ers hired Elton Brand as general manager on Tuesday, completing a meteoric rise in the franchise’s front office, league sources told ESPN. Brand made a strong impression on ownership and coach Brett Brown in the interview process, beating out several more experienced candidates inside and outside the Sixers organization, sources said. Ultimately, ownership believed that he had sold them on vision, preparedness and the ability to grow into the role at a crucial time for the organization. Brand, 39, had been recently promoted to executive vice president of basketball operations after serving the past year as GM of the Sixers’ G League affiliate in Delaware. After retiring in 2016, he spent two years in the organization before this elevation to oversee the front office. Brand replaces Brown, who had been the interim GM since the dismissal of Bryan Colangelo in June.
Wade: Will Return To Heat For 16th NBA Season – Dwyane Wade looked into the camera, stood alone in the middle of a darkened room and talked for 10 minutes. He struggled with his words at times, unable to control his emotions. He wept. And finally, he made what he called the hardest decision of his life. One more year. Retirement needs to wait a little bit longer for Wade, who announced Sunday night in a video taped earlier in the day that he’s returning to the Miami Heat for a 16th and final NBA season. He basically spent the entirety of the last four months weighing his options, and retirement, even just a few days ago, was an extremely real possibility in his mind. “This is it. I’ve given this game everything that I have, and I’m happy about that, and I’m going to give it for one last season, everything else I have left.”.