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Clippers Propose Blockbuster Trade to Timberwolves

Michael Scotto

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The Los Angeles Clippers proposed a blockbuster deal to the Minnesota Timberwolves involving forward Blake Griffin and center Karl-Anthony Towns, league sources told Basketball Insiders.

The trade proposal didn’t advance past an exploratory call from the Clippers as Minnesota declined, league sources told Basketball Insiders. Minnesota views Towns, the former No. 1 overall pick of the 2015 draft, as a franchise-caliber player and a vital piece of the future who is not for sale at this time.

As a result, additional Timberwolves players needed to make the trade work financially were not discussed, league sources told Basketball Insiders.

Griffin makes $29.5 million and Towns only makes $6.2 million this season, which makes a one-for-one swap impossible due to the $23.3 million salary gap. At least two additional Timberwolves players would need to be included in a trade involving Griffin and Towns to make it work financially. The Clippers would’ve also needed to create another roster spot for the hypothetical incoming third Timberwolves player.

Griffin, a five-time All-Star and former No. 1 overall pick of the 2009 draft, signed a five-year, $171 million deal this past summer and is not eligible to be traded until January 15. Griffin’s deal includes a $39 million player option for the 2021-22 season according to our Clippers salary page.

The Clippers are trending downward at 20-21 overall and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons. Furthermore, the future of several players is uncertain, including All-Star DeAndre Jordan and former Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams.

Jordan has a $24.1 million player option for next season and nearly left Los Angeles to join the Dallas Mavericks in the summer of 2015. Jordan is averaging 11.8 points, 14.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.

Williams is playing at an All-Star level and will enter unrestricted free agency this summer. Williams is averaging a career-high 23.1 points and 5.0 assists in 31.6 minutes per game as the league’s top sixth man. Williams is also shooting a career-high 45 percent overall, 41 percent from beyond the arc, and 91 percent at the foul line.

Despite the free agent addition of Danilo Gallinari, the writing on the wall for a rebuild was evident when All-Star guard Chris Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets.

It’s worth noting the Clippers are narrowly under the tax by $123,000, which will affect any trade discussions as the trade deadline nears on February 8.

As for Minnesota, the Timberwolves are currently in fourth place in the Western Conference and appear to have turned the corner after struggling as a franchise for over a decade.

Minnesota holds the record for the longest current playoff drought with 13 straight trips to the lottery. However, the Timberwolves are on pace to break that dubious streak this season thanks to the additions of All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague, as well as proven veterans Jamal Crawford and Taj Gibson.

Towns and Wiggins, the former No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft, are the cornerstones for the Timberwolves for the foreseeable future.

Michael Scotto is a Senior NBA Writer for Basketball Insiders in his sixth season covering the league. He also works for The Associated Press focusing on Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks game coverage.

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Sources: Jimmy Butler Prefers Trade to Clippers, Interested in Knicks, Nets

Basketball Insiders

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After registering a trade request with the Minnesota Timberwolves, All-Star Jimmy Butler is most interested in pursuing a future with the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources told ESPN.

Butler’s ability to partner on the Clippers with a second star player in a deep summer free agency market holds a strong appeal to Butler, league sources said.

The Clippers have two max contract slots available in July, and are emerging as a front-runner for Toronto’s All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard when he becomes a free agent in July, league sources said.

Butler told Minnesota president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau that he would like to be traded before reporting for Timberwolves media day on Monday and prefers the possibility of the Clippers — as well as the New York Knicks, league sources said. Butler told the Timberwolves that he planned to leave the franchise in free agency next summer, sources said.

The Brooklyn Nets’ ability to sign two max free agents in the summer will keep them in consideration for Butler, but he has prioritized the Clippers and Knicks over them, league sources said.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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Sources: Brandon Knight Had ‘clean up’ Procedure on Left Knee

Basketball Insiders

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On @theathleticnba @watchstadium: Houston’s Brandon Knight underwent surgery on his left knee, considered a “clean up,” and will miss some time, per league sources.

Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

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Report: Pelicans Waive Emeka Okafor

Basketball Insiders

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The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has requested waivers on center Emeka Okafor.

Okafor, 6-10, 252, appeared in 26 regular season games last season with New Orleans after signing with the team on February 3, 2018 and finished the season with averages of 4.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.

Source: New Orleans Pelicans

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