[Charania] Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @watchstadium: Denver starter Will Barton has suffered a strained groin and his timetable for return is unclear. Barton underwent MRI today after being carted off floor in Saturday's win over Phoenix.
[Wojnarowski] Whatever case Rondo's making, NBA is evaluating a video clip captured courtside that shows saliva/spit shooting from Rondo's mouth onto Chris Paul's face. It appears Rondo will have to sell league on fact that it was unintentional -- and that appears to be a tough case to make.
[Wojnarowski] Sources: NBA's expected to learn two things on case Lakers/Rajon Rondo will make to league: Rondo suffered a cut/scratch under right eye from Chris Paul, which Rondo contends provoked him. Also, Rondo used a mouthguard, which presumably would complicate alleged act of spitting.
[Charania] Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: Along with Chris Paul/Rajon Rondo altercation in Lakers-Rockets, one of Rondo’s family members confronted Paul’s wife, Jada. NBA investigating tonight’s on-court altercations ahead of Rockets/Clippers on Sunday.
[Wojnarowski] Sources: Lakers officials watched tape and are backing Rajon Rondo’s contention that he didn’t spit on Chris Paul. Meanwhile, CP3 and Rockets are insisting that Rondo did spit. “Lot of history between them,” one source connected to both players says.
[Wojnarowski] With the NBA’s Kiki VanDeWeghe on the scene at Staples, investigation into Rockets-Lakers fight is underway tonight and there is potential for suspensions as soon as Sunday, league source tells ESPN. Rockets play Clippers on a back-to-back.
[Wojnarowski] Sources: Larry Nance's four-year, $45M extension gives Cavs some flexibility in later years, descending annually from $12.7M, $11.7M, $10.6M to $9.6M in 2022-23. Kevin Love’s deal is structured in similar way. Cavs could have significant space when cap rises to $116M in 2020.
[Wojnarowski] Bobby Portis, Chicago Bulls will not agree to a rookie extension, agent Mark Bartelstein tells ESPN. Talks intensified in recent days, but sides will table until summer. Portis will become a restricted free agent.
[Wojnarowski] Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow has agreed to a three-year, $39M extension, league sources tell ESPN. Roc Nation and Heat completed work on rookie extension ahead of Monday’s deadline.
[Wojnarowski] Story soon on ESPN: Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver is leaning toward the eventual hiring of interim general manager James Jones as the franchise’s full-time GM, league sources tell ESPN. Jones had been VP of Basketball Operations under former GM Ryan McDonough.
[Scotto] The Athletic Sources: The Phoenix Suns also fired assistant GM Pat Connelly and director of scouting Courtney Witte, along with GM Ryan McDonough. Draft picks under McDonough's regime included Alex Len, T.J. Warren, Devin Booker, Dragan Bender, Josh Jackson and Deandre Ayton.
[Wojnarowski] Suns legend Steve Nash -- a Sarver favorite -- continues to have no interest in pursuing the demands of the day-to-day duties of running a front office, league sources tell ESPN. He works as consultant with the Warriors now.
[Wojnarowski] The challenge for the Suns remains unchanged: Robert Sarver is perhaps the NBA's most involved owner in basketball decision-making and the plan can change day-to-day. McDonough survived five years with him. Recruiting a new GM is never an easy sell there.
[Charania] Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: Minnesota and Miami have seriously discussed several frameworks of a potential deal for Jimmy Butler, including ones with Heat's Josh Richardson. Medicals shared both ways. Timberwolves do not appear any closer a deal.
[Wojnarowski] ESPN reporting with @Zachlowe_NBA: In another example of the league's changing attitudes on gambling, the Dallas Mavericks are hiring former NBA bettor Bob Voulgaris (@Haralabob) as Director of Quantitative Research and Development.
[Charania] Sources: As Boston star Kyrie Irving says at Celtics fan event that he plans to re-sign with the team next summer, Irving has also communicated with Boston ownership over past several weeks and verbally committed plans to stay long-term.
[Wojnarowski] New Orleans forward Julius Randle left game tonight after a hard fall in the third quarter, but he's expected to be fine, league source tells ESPN. He was walking with no problem after the game.
[Charania] Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: NBA informed Cleveland's J.R. Smith he would be fined per game during season for "Supreme" tattoo on his leg, unless it is covered, and Smith plans to have conversations with league about situation.
[Wojnarowski] The uncertainty surrounding Jabari Bird's legal issues, contract and future with Celtics could impact Georges-Hunt's opportunity to eventually land on regular season roster. There's no telling the timing or resolution for Bird with Celtics.
[Wojnarowski] Free agent guard Marcus Georges-Hunt is finalizing a deal to join the Boston Celtics in preseason camp, league sources tell ESPN. Georges-Hunt played with Minnesota and Orlando in past two seasons -- and Celtics G League in Maine prior to NBA stops.
[Wojnarowski] Sources: Miami has been the most engaged team with Minnesota on a Jimmy Butler trade. So far, no traction with Clippers and Nets. Houston's tried to be creative in its pursuit. It'll be a challenge -- although not impossible -- to get any Butler deal done without a third team.
[Wojnarowski] Phoenix's pursuit of a starting point guard could factor into the Jimmy Butler trade discussions as a potential third-team partner, league sources tell ESPN. If Minnesota trades for Goran Dragic in a Miami/Butler scenario, that could make Wolves PG Jeff Teague available for Suns.
[Spears] Warriors restricted free agent guard Patrick McCaw has not signed his offer sheet as of Monday morning, is not expected at Media Day today and is expected to miss the start of training camp, sources said.
[Wojnarowski] So far, Pat Riley and Miami have been as aggressive as any team in pursuit of a Jimmy Butler trade with Minnesota, league sources tell ESPN. Ownership still prefers to find a deal by early this week, sources said.
[Wojnarowski] ESPN Sources: Another team pursuing a Jimmy Butler trade with Minnesota: Cleveland. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was seen talking privately with Glen Taylor at NBA Board of Governors meeting on Friday. Both owners played a part in negotiating the Love-Wiggins deal.
[Wojnarowski] Sources: The NBA’s Board of Governors passed rule changes for season that include: reset of shot clock to 14 seconds after offensive rebound; simplification of clear-path foul rule; expanding definition of "hostile act" for purposes of triggering replay.
[Charania] In memo, Commissioner Silver also writes to teams: evaluate all executives on efforts to eliminate harassment; conduct anonymous workplace surveys; provide consistent discipline when misconduct is substantiated.
[Charania] Sources on @watchstadium @theathleticNBA: NBA commissioner Adam Silver has sent new memo to all 30 teams “strongly” encouraging many reforms, including increasing number of women throughout organization/leadership and improving harassment reporting.
[Wojnarowski] Among teams probing for an avenue to make a Butler deal in near future, there’s a strong belief that working through ownership is the way to go. Taylor is attending league meetings today in New York.
[Wojnarowski] Also: As the case with past trades involving Minnesota stars Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love, owner Glen Taylor will be a major part of the process on deciding whether to move Butler this season.
[Wojnarowski] Story filed to ESPN: Rival executives lobbing calls to Minnesota’s front office on possibility of trading for Jimmy Butler are getting inquires shut down. Minnesota is telling teams that Butler’s an elite player and franchise intends to keep him.
[Wojnarowski] Minnesota's Jimmy Butler is most determined to find a way to the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources tell ESPN. The appeal of partnering with a second star - the Clippers have two max contract slots available in summer free agency - is an intriguing scenario for him.
[McMenamin] Space Jam 2, while a part of the Space Jam franchise, is not considered a sequel, a source familiar with the production told ESPN. However, there have been discussions in involving Michael Jordan in some way. At this point, Jordan’s level of involvement is to be determined.
[Wojnarowski] The NBA's report says that claims were substantiated by 15 current and former employees regarding inappropriate comments and touching by former Dallas Mavericks President and CEO Terdema Ussery.
[Wojnarowski] Sources: After NBA investigation into workplace misconduct, Dallas owner Mark Cuban and the NBA have agreed that he'll donate $10M to organizations that promote women in leadership roles and combat domestic violence. NBA can only fine $2.5M by rules.
[Wojnarowski] Minnesota's Jimmy Butler has three preferred destinations for a trade, league sources tell ESPN: The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Those three teams have max cap space to sign Butler as a free agent in July.
[Charania] Jimmy Butler has requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, league sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Butler has given Minnesota a list of one-to-three teams with whom he's open to signing extension, in anticipation of trade.
[Wojnarowski] Beyond promoting Brand to GM, Sixers are elevating Alex Rucker to Executive VP of Basketball Operations, Ned Cohen stays assistant GM and Marc Eversley SVP of Player Personnel, sources said.
[Wojnarowski] Philadelphia has hired Elton Brand as general manager, league sources tell ESPN. Brand will be elevated from VP of Basketball Operations. He made strong impression on ownership and Brett Brown in process, beating out several inside and outside candidates.