Caron Butler and Milwaukee Bucks Agree on Contract Buyout

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Caron Butler signed with the Milwaukee Bucks during the offseason, and he is averaging 11 points per game this year. Butler is making eight million dollars this season and is expected to sign with the Miami Heat to a veterans minimum contract. He’s shooting 39 percent from the field and 36 percent from three and, if Butler is utilized properlycould be very useful to any team hoping to boast it’s roster before the postseason. The San Antonio Spurs are another theoretical, ideal fit for the 33-year-old wing. 

The buyout comes as somewhat of a surprise, as Butler is a native of RacineWisconsin and owns multiple Burger King franchises in the area. He also emerged as an unlikely candidate to become an investor after expressing interest in purchasing the team earlier this season. But, that idea was temporarily set aside. 

“Caron is a valued member of the Bucks and our community for his contributions both on and off the court. That said, it would be inappropriate for us to comment on a personal decision he may or may not make after his playing days are over.”

The Bucks are a league-worst 11-45 this season.

World Peace, Granger clear waivers, Udrih picked up by Grizzlies

After being released from the New York Knicks Monday, Metta World Peace has cleared waivers and is available for a team willing to sign the 15 year veteran. Beno Udrih, also released by the Knicks on Monday, has been claimed by the Memphis Grizzlies. The following is a statement from Knicks Present Steve Mills regarding the release of Udrih and World Peace

“We are disappointed that it did not work out for Beno and Metta here in New York,”  Mills said in a statement. “We thank them for their contributions this season and wish them well.”

Both players joined the Knicks over the summer hoping to be pieces of a championship contending team, but any likelihood of that happening has long since passed.

Udrih (31) will reportedly join the Memphis Grizzlies. He scored five points and four assists while averaging 19 minutes per game in 31 total appearances with the Knicks. Udrih is a career 46 percent shooter from the field, and is 35 percent lifetime from on attempts from behind the three-point line. The Grizzlies’ Mike Conley has missed time due to injury, and it’s likely attaining Udrih will give Memphis peace of mind as he will play the role of backup point guard behind Nick Calathes.

As for Danny Granger, the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs have emerged as the frontrunners to land the former Indiana Pacer who was recently had his contract bought out by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Shannon Brown expected to sign with Knicks

The Spurs, who chose not to resign Shannon Brown after his 10-day contract expired, are expected to use the roster slot to pursue other interests. Brown’s stint comes shortly after San Antonio Othyus signed Othyus Jeffers to a 10-day contract, but Jeffers – like Brown – was not asked to re-sign. As for the available roster slot, Danny Granger has been mentioned as someone the Spurs may pursue in preparation for the postseason.

 

After making 10 appearances with the San Antonio Spurs, it seems Brown will likely sign with the New York Knicks tomorrow. This news comes shortly after the Knicks failed to move Raymond Felton before the tradeline, Felton was recently arrested and charged with one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and one count of criminal possession of a firearm. Each is considered a felony in New York state.

Felton practiced with the team Wednesday and is expected to play tomorrow night. The Knicks are in Miami Thursday for a road meeting with the Heat. Signing Brown is undoubtedly a move made in preparation because of Felton’s uncertain, immediate future.

Playing an average of 10 minutes per game with the Spurs, Brown averaged two points on 29 percent shooting from the field. The 28 year-old guard has spent most of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns. Brown’s career field goal percentage is just over 40 percent, while shooting just above 33 percent from behind the arc.

Kyrie Irving Wants Out Of Cleveland?

According to Chad Ford, Kyrie Irving is unhappy playing in Cleveland with the Cavaliers. Ford, on his Chat With Ford page located at ESPN.com, answered this question made by the alias, “Tim,” who is from Los Angeles.

How hot are the collective seats of Chris Grant and Mike Brown? And who do you think the Cavs are most likely to target at the deadline?

The following is the second half of Ford’s answer. Read the segman in it’s entirety here. 

Chemistry is a major issue there and some of that is on Mike Brown. But more of it is on the collection of players in Cleveland at the moment. Something has to happen quick. Kyrie Irving has been telling people privately he wants out. Cleveland can’t afford to lose him and LeBron. They know the urgency. I expect them to be major players at the deadline.

Of course, this has been an underlying issue in Cleveland ever since Irving was selected by the Cavs — would this be another LeBron James “decision” type of scenario. It’s a little above my paygrade to speculate whether or not Irving really is saying he wants out of town. If, as Ford states, Irving is telling people “privately,” who leaked the news?

CBS’s Zach Harper summed things up in less than 160 characters.

Irving will not be an unrestricted free-agent until 2016. He becomes eligible for a contract extension this offseason and will likely receive a max offer from the Cavaliers. Irving could become a restricted free agent in  2015. Other NBA teams may offer him a contract, but Cleveland would have a chance to match —  he wouldn’t be able to, “up-and-leave” the Cavs until 2016.

Irving is averaging 22 points, on 45 percent field-goal shooting and 40 percent from three-point range, over the last 20 games. The Cavs are 6-14 in those games. Maybe if the team was winning, this wouldn’t be a discussion Ford would be having.

Michael Carter-Williams OUT for Sixers-Wolves

Dec 3, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) is defended by Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo (5) and forward Glen Davis (11) during the fourth quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated the Magic 126-125 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

As reported by the Philadelphia 76ers PR, Michael Carter-Williams will not play tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Carter-Williams, known more commonly around the league as MCW, was released from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania on Sunday. He spent three nights being treated for a skin infection on the front of his right knee.

This will be MCW’s fifth consecutive absence. He also missed four games earlier this season with an injury to his left foot.

MCW has been the Sixers bright light, something that a team that is tanking is not supposed to have.

It’s quite likely this is a precautionary move by the Sixers medical staff, as well as the front office — there’s no reason to rush MCW back into things this early in his career.

Carter-Williams is scoring 17 points, dishing out 7 assists and swiping 3 steals while averaging just under 40 minutes per game.

MCW is the only player in the NBA averaging more steals per game than Timberwolves starting point guard, Ricky Rubio.

Dec 1, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) is defended by Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings (7) in the second quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

While it’s disheartening to see the surprising rookie sensation sidelined so early in the season, he’s played better than everyone had anticipated — showing the ability to be a game-changing point guard in the NBA for many years to come; assuming he stays healthy.

There is no timetable for MCW’s return, but as Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown stated in USA today, his presence as a team leader remains important. Not only now, but in the future.

“Really — and it’s boring but it’s all I know — it’s day-to-day,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “You know what I know. He’ll travel with us. We’ll continue to monitor him. We will obviously err on the side of being smart and cautious with him, but he’s back with us. He’ll be on the bench tonight as my fifth assistant coach, and I’m happy to have him back.”

The Sixers and Wolves square off at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota at 7:00PM CST tonight.

Andrew Bogut Signs Big Extension with Warriors

The obligatory remark to the Golden State Warriors extending Andrew Bogut’s contract is “Why pay that much for someone who never seems to be healthy?” Bogut has played 82 games only once in his career; he’s played 44 games in the previous two seasons combined.

The selling point on this deal — the Warriors are pushing to make the finals this season, and Bogut (and his health) will prove key throughout the season and into the playoffs. His presence will be key in the paint, with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and David Lee joining Bogut in the starting lineup. With GSW’s wings and Lee’s versatility facing the basket — Bogut will work well under the basket in high-low sets. Fans of the Warriors should hope to see a lot of this during the upcoming season.

 

Here are Bogut’s numbers from the postseason last year.

Season Age Tm Lg Pos G GS MP FG% 3P% 2P% FT% TRB AST BLK PF PTS
2012-13 28 GSW NBA C 12 12 27.3 .582 .582 .348 10.9 1.8 1.5 3.3 7.2
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2013.

Hopefully, Bogut’s health will hold up this season and everyone will see why he is one of the better centers in the league.

Phoenix Suns Suns Trade Marcin Gortat to Washington Wizards

In Saving the Skyhooks’ season preview for the Phoenix Suns it was stated the selection of Alex Len in the first round of the draft signifies the imminent departure of the one known as the Polish Hammer; Marcin Gortat.

Turns out imminent was sooner than expected after ESPN’s Marc Stein reported the story early Friday afternoon.

 

The Suns part ways with Gortat, Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee and a 2014 draft selection and in return they’ll receive Emeka Okafor. Okafor is currently out indefinitely and likely won’t play a minute as a member of the Suns.

Phoenix has equipped their fully armored tank for the upcoming season — the role at center will be played by a committee made up of rookie first round draft selection Alex Len and second year player Miles Plumlee. The two bigs are averaging a combined 10 points per game this preseason.

Phoenix receives, yet another, selection for next summer’s NBA draft and as it stands now — the Suns will now have four first-round selections in one of the deeper projected drafts in recent memory.

Minnesota Timberwolves Cut Othyus Jeffers and Lorenzo Brown

The Minnesota Timberwolves released Lorenzo Brown and Othyus Jeffers this afternoon, but the team still must cut one more before 4:00PM CST on Monday to meet the NBA’s roster restriction of 15 players.

Oct 9, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams (7) drives to the net as guard Lorenzo Brown (4) and Toronto Raptors guard Landry Fields (2) look on at the Air Canada Centre. Minnesota defeated Toronto 101-89. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Brown was the Wolves second-round draft selection. He missed only two games during his final season at North Carolina State, where he averaged just over seven assists playing the role of facilitator for the Wolfpack. He averaged 19 minutes per game for the Wolves at the Las Vegas Summer League, shot 50 percent from 3pt-range, 38 percent from the field, totaled 2 assists per game and negated the dimes and dishes by coughing it up nearly just as much (2 turnovers per game) . Playing 12mpg in three preseason games; Brown averaged 4 points 1 rebound and 1 assist.

Jeffers entered the league undrafted despite averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds a game at Robert Morris University. Selected by the Iowa Energy in the 2008-09 D-League draft he averaged 20 points and 9 rebounds per game and was named the NBADL Rookie of the Year. Jeffers had a team-high 13 points in the Wolves 98-89 preseason win in Sioux Falls against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Wolves are likely to cut Chris Johnson to meet the league’s roster requirements, leaving A.J. Price and Robbie Hummel as the 14th and 15th players on the roster.

 

 

NBA Owners Approve 2-2-1-1-1 Finals Format

NBA Owners unanimously voted in favor of changing the Finals from the 2-3-2 format to a more profitable 2-2-1-1-1 schedule, the same format used throughout the Eastern and Western Conference playoff series. This format is also used in the National Hockey League.

In 1985 the league implemented the 2-3-2 format because of the distance between Boston and Los Angeles, the Celtics and the Lakers met eight times prior to the change and the traveling became exhausting to both organizations.

Theoretically having a game-six as a home game for teams on-the-ropes of elimination means more exhilarating winner-take-all final games. In the past, the team with the advantage only needed one victory during three road games to secure the advantage of playing game six and seven under their friendly confines.

Who can forget last season? The San Antonio Spurs lost two straight in Miami to the eventual champion Heat, collapsing in the final minutes of game six and seven and dropping the series despite leaving San Antonio with a 3-2 series lead.

Since ’85 nine Champions have been crowed after the six games and only four Finals have reached a game seven. Changing from a 2-3-2 to a 2-2-1-1-1 format levels the playing field for the conference champions but more importantly gives viewers and fans a chance to see more exciting all-or-nothing games between the best teams in the NBA.