Los Angeles Lakers Rumours: Jimmy Butler remains an option, Kawhi Leonard unlikely to join
What's the story?
Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard are among the big names set to hit free agency this summer, and the Los Angeles Lakers have been linked with both players. However, according to a recent report by Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, the Lakers have a much greater chance of completing a deal for Jimmy Butler:
Aside from Toronto, a better basketball fit and partner in crime (LeBron James) might not be at his disposal. However, that optimism was short-lived. ESPN's Baxter Holmes wrote an in-depth piece on the failed reboot of the Lakers wherein he painted a picture of total dysfunction and distrust. Good luck getting Leonard if even half of the discord is true. The San Antonio friggin' Spurs were too much of a daytime drama to him, for crying out loud.
Jimmy Butler is a more feasible target. He is one of the three players James has started pitching. Philadelphia's crowded pecking order renders him one of the summer's greater flight risks.
In case you didn't know...
After enjoying successful spells in Chicago and Minnesota, Butler headed to Philadelphia last November in the trade that sent Jerryd Bayless, Robert Covington, Dario Šarić and a 2022 second-round draft pick to the Timberwolves. Butler averaged 18.2 points and 5.3 rebounds during the regular season and continued to perform well as the Sixers narrowly missed out on the Eastern Conference Finals.
The heart of the matter
At this point, the Lakers' chances of landing Kawhi appear minimal, although the Butler rumours continue to gain traction. Jimmy has also expressed his desire to land a max deal while playing on a contending team - the Lakers can offer both. Ultimately, the Lakers appear to be Butler's most likely destination this summer and it would be fascinating to see how he'd perform alongside LeBron James.
The Lakers are preparing for next month's NBA draft, where they hold the number four overall pick and might be expecting trade package deals which include that pick.