The opening of the 2018-19 NBA season has done nothing to impede the frenzied activity of the rumor mill.
If anything, rumors, whispers and murmurs are coming more frequently as teams start figuring out exactly what they have—and, more importantly, what they do not.
The biggest buzz surrounds a disgruntled All-Star still looking for a ticket out of his current town, but there are more than just big fish in the NBA pond, and the following chatter reflects that.
Jimmy Butler Trade Talks Have Stalled?
The Jimmy Butler saga continues.
It's been a month since the four-time All-Star requested a trade away from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and his proximity to the exits is as unclear as ever.
He was there for the team's season-opening loss to the San Antonio Spurs, totaling 23 points on 23 shots, seven boards and four steals. Based on the latest update of the situation, it sounds like he could be there a lot longer.
"For now, Minnesota's trade talks with teams around the NBA are mostly dormant, league sources told The Athletic," Shams Charania reported.
Butler had been most closely linked to the Miami Heat, but a potential move there fell apart at the goal line. While there's always a chance talks could rekindle at any moment, team president Pat Riley said his team was "pulling the plug" on the pursuit for now, per The Athletic's Shandel Richardson.
Miami, of course, is far from being Butler's only potential landing spot, but if it has pulled out of pole position, it's hard to tell which club will move to the front of the line.
He wants a five-year, maximum contract next summer that could be worth $190 million, league sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. It's possible that contract won't age the greatest considering Butler will turn 30 before the 2019-20 season tips off.
LeBron Wanted Michael Beasley Last Season?
While the Los Angeles Lakers' non-LeBron James veteran additions this summer seemed curious from the outside, the King had reportedly been eyeing one in particular even before coming to California.
ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin reported Thursday James "developed an appreciation for [Michael] Beasley's advanced offensive skills" during their shared tenure with the Miami Heat and wanted Beasley brought to the Cleveland Cavaliers last season.
Beasley and James spent the 2013-14 season together, LeBron's final campaign in South Beach. While Beasley didn't have a super-sized role with that team (15.1 minutes per game, 55 appearances), he did keep the scoreboard moving when called upon (18.9 points per 36 minutes on 49.9 percent shooting, 38.9 percent from three).
Of course, that's basically the summation of Beasley's 10-plus season NBA career. His per-36-minute career points average is actually a tad higher (19.5), and while his shooting rates then were impressive, neither was a personal best.
His biggest challenge has been showing he's capable of contributing in other ways. He's only averaged two assists per game once in his career, and his defensive box plus/minus landed in the red during nine of his first 10 campaigns.
But if James saw something he likes in Beasley, who are we to argue?
T.J. McConnell’s Fate Won’t Be Decided Until Summer?
Since arriving at the Philadelphia 76ers as an undrafted rookie in 2015, T.J. McConnell has cemented himself in a rotation that's morphed from a willful cellar-dweller into a full-fledged contender.
But unrestricted free agency awaits the fan favorite at season's end, and the Sixers don't plan on determining his fate before that, a league source told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"I have so much love for this organization, this city, this fanbase," McConnell said, per Pompey. "I want to be here. I want to play here. Unfortunately, I think that's kind of out of my hands."
Clearly, the Sixers value the hard-playing point guard. The Phoenix Suns recently tried to poach him away from Philly for a second-round pick and were rebuffed, per Pompey.
But the Sixers' roster features two top picks at the same position (Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz), plus this summer's 26th overall selection (Landry Shamet). At the least, that would seem likely to force Philly to carefully consider the cost of keeping McConnell.
And, as Phoenix's trade attempt showed, there's obviously a market for his services away from the City of Brotherly Love.
Statistics used courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.