There's never a dull moment in the NBA, regardless whether it's playing games that count, games that don't or no games at all.
This league often does drama better than Hollywood.
The latest additions to the rumor mill are evidence of that. From one disgruntled star attempting to orchestrate his exit to a pair of stars contemplating joining forces, the buzz below doesn't lack for excitement, name recognition or potential league-wide impact.
Jimmy Butler Turns Up Pressure
It's been nearly a month since Butler first requested a trade away from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and nothing has changed. He's still on the team (for now), and he still wants that to change:
Since he can't wiggle out of his contract before next summer, he doesn't have complete control of the situation. But he probably increased his leverage Wednesday with an unexpected, dramatic return to the practice floor.
ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski passed on the particulars:
"Butler was vociferous and intense throughout the scrimmages, targeting president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau, general manager Scott Layden and teammates, including Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, league sources said.
"As the GM watched on the sidelines during a scrimmage, sources said that Butler yelled to Layden: 'You f---ing need me, Scott. You can't win without me.'"
Butler later told ESPN's Rachel Nichols that "a lot of" Wojnarowski's report was accurate. Nichols also asked Butler if his presence at practice signaled an improvement in the relationship. He said, "it's not fixed," and while he conceded it "could be" at some point, he said he doesn't think it will.
In other words, the ball is back in the Timberwolves' court. It's anyone's guess as far as how they'll proceed.
Minnesota reportedly neared a deal with the Miami Heat over the weekend, only for it to fall apart when the Wolves amended the framework of the exchange, sources told Wojnarowski. Miami had been willing to part with a package headlined by Josh Richardson and a protected first-round pick, per Marc Stein of the New York Times, but apparently that wasn't enough.
"[They want] the first born of all our kids," a Heat source told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
The Timberwolves haven't had "serious, active talks with any other team," sources told Wojnarowski. They can't pry P.J. Tucker away from the Houston Rockets, a source told ESPN's Stefano Fusaro, and the Los Angeles Clippers haven't offered Tobias Harris, per The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski.
Only Minnesota's front office knows what it takes to pluck Butler out of the Gopher State. But one wonders if Wednesday's wild display at practice moved the four-time All-Star a little closer to the exits.
Kyrie, Brow Talk Boston?
Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis already have 10 All-Star Game selections between them (five apiece). Irving has twice been a top-10 scorer and had a top-10 offensive box plus/minus four different times. Davis hasn't finished outside the top 10 in player efficiency rating since his rookie season, and he's riding a two-way wave of at least 28 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks per game.
Each is an established star by any definition. Can you imagine the kind of damage they could do together?
Well, as scary as this sounds, they've apparently pondered that question together.
"The two have already spoken about what it would be like to play together in Boston, according to a league source," Jay King wrote for The Athletic.
Davis has long been the apple of the Celtics' eye, but this is something else. It's one thing to daydream about a player wreaking havoc for your club. It's quite another when that player is daydreaming himself.
Conversations, of course, don't guarantee Davis is headed to Boston at any point. He has at least two seasons left on his contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, and he's professed his loyalty to the organization on more than one occasion.
But he's also only made the playoffs in two of his six seasons with the Pelicans. The only All-Star he's played alongside just left for nothing in return this offseason (DeMarcus Cousins). Davis is the lone player picked in the first round by this franchise who's still on the roster.
New Orleans needs to prove it can build a winner around Davis, and the clock is already ticking. If this club can't keep pace with the rest of the West, the whispers about Davis' future could grow to a deafening roar. And if that pushes the Pelicans to move him, several league sources told King they think Davis could wind up with either the Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers.
There are a lot of hurdles between now and whenever that point-of-no-return is. But when the possible result is an Irving-Davis duo, it's certainly worth examining.