The start of the 2018-19 NBA season is upon us. While opening-day rosters have been set around the league, for many teams, the roster is going to look quite different in a couple months than it does this week.
This is because as teams navigate the early portion of the regular season, they begin to get a better idea of what the strengths and weaknesses of their respective rosters are. This typically leads to in-season player movement, specifically through trades.
Some names already appear to be on the move sooner than later, and we haven't even had the association's opening tip-off.
Let's dig into some of the latest rumors and speculation with the NBA season set to begin.
Jimmy Butler Makes a Deal With Minnesota
Minnesota Timberwolves standout Jimmy Butler made it known early in the offseason that he would prefer to play his ball elsewhere—though, at the same time, he seems adamant the Timberwolves need him.
According to John Krawczynski of The Athletic, Butler will be there for Minnesota when the season opens against the San Antonio Spurs:
"Three days before the start of the regular season, [Timberwolves owner Glen] Taylor met with his disgruntled All-Star before practice, searching for some sort of understanding to calm the noise that has drowned out any sense of excitement for the upcoming season. In the meeting, Taylor and Butler came to an agreement, sources said: Taylor will continue to work diligently to find a trade as soon as possible. Until that happens, Butler will be a good teammate and play as hard as he always does."
The good news for Timberwolves fans is that Butler will be around and contributing, at least early in the season. The bad news is that it's likely only a matter of time before he moves on. For his part, the seven-year veteran recognizes this won't make him the most popular player on the team.
Butler is a four-time NBA All-Star, and losing that level of player is going to sting a bit. However, that kind of talent will also bring Minnesota some pieces it can use to build around guys such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
While Butler doesn't appear to want to be such a building block for Minnesota—and he's certainly been critical of both his teammates and the front office—Wiggins recently had positive words for his soon-to-be former teammate.
"All I know is when we start playing the real games, Jimmy is someone you want on your team," Wiggins said, per Krawczynski.
Of course, the cynical perception could always be that Wiggins is speaking directly to teams that could trade for Butler—and therefore take him out of Minnesota altogether.
Phoenix Wanted to Make a Run at Rozier
The Phoenix Suns recently added free-agent guard Jamal Crawford to a one-year deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
The former Sixth-Man-of-the-Year-Award winner will bring talent, leadership and experience to the rebuilding franchise. However, he wasn't the Suns' first choice, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
John Gambadoro @Gambo987
Look the Suns would have LOVED to get Rozier and he is a difference maker - him alone in my opinion makes Suns 10 games better. He is a fantastic player. But he is very very unlikely to be traded. But trust me Ryan and James both tried for Rozier before agreeing to sign Jamal.
Gambadoro is speaking here of Suns Vice President of Basketball Operations James Jones and former Phoenix general manager Ryan McDonagh. To hear the pair were interested in bringing in the Boston Celtics point guard isn't particularly surprising.
Terry Rozier became a hot commodity after stepping up for Boston following the injury loss of Kyrie Irving—especially in the postseason. In the playoffs, he averaged 16.5 points, 5.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game.
The 24-year-old's future in Boston is a bit hazy as well. He is entering the final season of a four-year, $8.76 million deal. He recently rejected an extension of his rookie deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. This means he will become a restricted free agent next summer.
Of course, the Celtics could decide to move him before the trade deadline, depending on the trade market and the desire/confidence in re-signing him in the offseason.