NBA rumors: Latest off-season news on free agency, trades, more

By Brian Rauf, Chat Sports

There wasn’t much intrigue with the top two picks in Thursday’s NBA draft as Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram went first and second to the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers, as expected. 

However, there were plenty of surprises after that, headlined by the Oklahoma City Thunder trading Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantas Sabonis (the No. 11 pick).

Check out the latest NBA news and rumors below.

• The Minnesota Timberwolves were close to acquiring Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night, but failed to close the deal, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein.

• Chicago is now expected to keep Jimmy Butler for the start of the season, reports ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.

• Minnesota is also actively shopping point guard Ricky Rubio after drafting former Providence point guard Kris Dunn with the No. 5 pick, reports The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

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• The Dallas Mavericks have emerged as a “serious suitor” to land free-agent center Hassan Whiteside, reports the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.

• LeBron James will not play for Team USA in the Olympics, reports’s Joe Vardon.

• San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard also announced he is skipping the Olympics.

Chat Sports: More NBA rumors and news inside the Chat Sports App

• NFL legend Deion Sanders told SI Now’s Maggie Gray that he nearly played an NBA game for the Atlanta Hawks while he was a member of the MLB’s Atlanta Braves.

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