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Kyrie Irving on Trade: ‘Me leaving wasn’t about basketball’

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The Celtics formally introduced Irving and fellow summer acquisition Gordon Hayward on Friday at TD Garden. The Celtics traded Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, and the Miami Heat’s 2020 second-round pick in exchange for Irving. Hayward signed a four-year, $128 million contract with the Celtics in July.

“It was my time to do what was best for me in terms of my intentions, and that’s going after something bigger than myself, and obviously being in an environment that was conducive for my potential,” Irving said. “I think that statement is just self-explanatory because it’s pretty direct in terms of what my intent is — it’s to be happy and be with a group of individuals that I can grow with. That’s not a knock on anything that has transpired in my six years [in Cleveland], because it was an unbelievable experience. To think about what we accomplished in Cleveland and individually as well, it bypasses the amount of moments I had with all the special people out there.

“Me leaving there wasn’t about basketball; it was more or less about creating that foundation of me in Cleveland, and then now taking this next step as a 25-year-old evolving man and being the best basketball player I can be.”

Source: Chris Forsberg of ESPN

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Sources: Timberwolves Want Jimmy Butler Dealt Quickly

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Against the displeasure of Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau, owner Glen Taylor has mandated that a deal needs to be negotiated to trade disgruntled All-Star forward Jimmy Butler in the next several days, league sources told ESPN.

Butler has likely worn the Timberwolves uniform for the final time, because Taylor has no interest in bringing Butler into the team’s training camp and threatening a bigger circus than already exists within the franchise.

Thibodeau has been willing to coach the Timberwolves through the dysfunction that has surrounded his star players, but Taylor has sided with Butler and agreed that the four-time All-Star should be away from the Wolves for the foreseeable future, sources said.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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Sources: Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns Agree to Super-Max Extension

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In a deal that cements him as the franchise’s long-term cornerstone, Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns has agreed to a five-year, $190 million super-maximum extension, league sources told ESPN.

Towns’ agent, Leon Rose of CAA Sports, informed the organization of Towns’ intention to sign the extension on Saturday night, sources said. The Timberwolves report for media day on Monday and begin training camp on Tuesday.

The super-max deal includes the ability for Towns to earn 30 percent of the Timberwolves’ salary cap with the fulfillment of reaching one of the three All-NBA teams, or being voted league MVP or Defensive Player of the Year this season.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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Sources: Timberwolves Want to Move Gorgui Dieng in Jimmy Butler Trade

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The Wolves would like to dump Gorgui Dieng in any [Jimmy] Butler deal, league sources say. Dieng is a backup set to earn $48 million over the next three seasons. Good luck, and thanks to the summer of 2016! Swallowing Dieng will be a non-starter for almost everyone, even if a few suitors could do so while still maintaining one max-level cap slot for this summer. (Minnesota could in theory find a third team to take Dieng, but things get tricky as more teams enter a deal.)

Source: Zach Lowe of ESPN

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