Brooklyn Nets rumors continue to revolve around the buzz surrounding Jimmy Butler of the Timberwolves, but reports say the Nets aren’t talking to Minnesota.
The Brooklyn Nets kicked off the 2018-19 season on Monday at the HSS Training Center with their annual Media Day soire, but much of the talk at the day’s activity involved the Brooklyn Nets rumors related to the trade request for Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler.
There wasn’t much to discuss, as it turns out.
Greg Logan of Newsday reported late Sunday on Twitter that the Nets are not currently engaged in talks with Minnesota for Butler.
Much of the speculation about a potential Nets-Timberwolves deal involving Butler has centered around Caris LeVert being part of the return package.
The swingman is entering his third NBA season and the Nets are very high on his future. LeVert had at one point been projected as a lottery pick in the NBA Draft before his junior and senior seasons were wrecked by a broken foot.
He ended up falling to 20th overall to the Indiana Pacers in the 2016 NBA Draft before being acquired by the Nets in exchange for veteran forward Thaddeus Young.
He excelled in transition, something the Nets did not do well, averaging 1.17 points per possession in transition and was 14th in the Eastern Conference in total isolation points scored.
Last summer was the first time in three years LeVert had a full offseason to work out rather than recover from injury and it showed with his more assertive and aggressive play.
For their part, teammates asked about LeVert’s potential inclusion in a trade were effusive about how good the third-year wing man can be this season.
The latter scenario seems unlikely — the Nets would do the Timberwolves a solid by taking an unhappy Butler off their hands, give up a first-round pick and let Minnesota dump Dieng’s salary? That feels more like a Billy King trade than a Sean Marks one.
For his part, LeVert told Nets Daily’s Billy Reinhardt:
"“I love it here, I want to play here a long time.”"
Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily didn’t get the impression the Nets were interested at all in moving LeVert.
Meanwhile, both of Brooklyn’s draft picks indicated a willingness to play for the Nets’ G League affiliate in Uniondale if asked.
The best one-liner of the day was this one commenting on the laugh Kawhi Leonard shared at the Toronto Raptors’ Media Day event.
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Let’s be honest. Media Day is important because it marks the official tip off of training camp. Writers get excited about it because it signals an end to the slow season in basketball writing, when speculation rules the day.
But you’re not going to hear anything particularly earth-shattering at Media Day. You’re going to hear guys give the expected answers to the expected questions; this isn’t Super Bowl Media Day, where it’s turned into an attention-craving free-for-all for fringe media wanna-be celebrities.
As for the Butler buzz, it’s still best to stay the course. We saw what happened the last time a Nets general manager decided to skip the steps and trade for a title. It turned into one first-round playoff win followed shortly thereafter by a plunge to the depths of the NBA.
Perhaps my biggest concern for the Nets, a team that has pushed chemistry and culture first since the arrival of Marks in the spring of 2016, would be the addition of Butler, a player who has been a centerpiece of locker room strife the last two seasons.
When you are the center of controversy in two locker rooms on two teams in two cities in back-to-back years? The odds become pretty good that you’re the problem … not everyone else.