Isaiah Thomas is feeling so good that he wanted to make his debut against the Sacramento Kings this week, only to be denied by the Cleveland Cavaliers organization.
While Thomas sat out Wednesday against the Kings, he was active on Friday, participating in a full-court scrimmage against his Cavs teammates for the first time since the point guard was acquired in a trade from the Boston Celtics for Kyrie Irving over the summer.
Thomas was ruled out of Saturday’s game against the Utah Jazz by Cavs coach Tyronn Lue. However, his recent performance was encouraging for a Cleveland team that has suddenly lost three of its past four games coming off a streak in which it had won 18 of 19.
The Cavaliers next game following their road trip is Tuesday at home against the Portland Trail Blazers. Thomas has not been ruled out of that game, and Cleveland will hold another scrimmage at practice on New Years’ Day to get Thomas some more reps.
No matter how well Thomas looks, the odds of him playing against the Celtics on Wednesday at Boston’s TD Garden are long. For one, Lue said he will hold Thomas to playing only one leg of back-to-backs when he makes his return. So, if Thomas plays against Portland, he will automatically be out against the Celtics. Also, Thomas will be on a minute restriction whenever he returns, multiple sources told ESPN. And from the sound of it, Thomas has no interest in playing the Celtics at anything less than 100 percent.
Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN
Sources: Jimmy Butler Trade Talks ‘mostly dormant’
For now, Minnesota’s talks with teams around the NBA are mostly dormant, league sources told The Athletic. The Miami Heat have long been the most aggressive team pursuing Butler, having advantages with a young, promising wing in Josh Richardson, being a team not in Minnesota’s conference and holding other assets to add in a package. Yet days before their own season opener Wednesday, Miami president Pat Riley informed his locker room that the team would stick with the current roster to start the season in a show of loyalty the organization has for their current players, league sources said.
Source: Shams Charania of The Athletic
Sources: HEAT, Pat Riley ‘pulling the plug’ on Jimmy Butler Trade
In another rare confirmation of Miami Heat trade negotiations, a team spokesman confirmed shortly before Thursday night’s game that Heat President Pat Riley recently told the team’s players he was “pulling the plug” on trade negotiations regarding disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler.
Amid growing speculation of specific Heat players being offered for Butler, Riley, during a recent practice session, lined up the team’s players on the practice court at AmericanAirlines Arena and told them he was standing by them.
Riley, however, did not state that a trade was categorically off the table.
Report: G League to Offer $125K Salaries to Elite Prospects
The NBA G League today announced a Select Contract as part of a comprehensive professional path that will be available, beginning with the 2019-20 season, to elite prospects who are eligible to play in the NBA G League but not yet eligible for the NBA. The contracts, which will include robust programmatic opportunities for development, are for elite players who are at least 18 years old and will pay $125,000 for the five-month season.
“Select Contracts are an answer to the basketball community’s call for additional development options for elite players before they are eligible for the NBA,” said NBA G League President Malcolm Turner. “The supporting infrastructure surrounding these newly-created Select Contracts is designed to provide a rich offering of basketball and life skills developmental tools for top young players to grow along their professional paths from high school to the pros.”