With the NBA offseason in full swing, the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes are heating up. After being acquired by the Philadelphia 76ers via trade in November, Butler averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and four assists during the 2018-2019 season. With Butler hitting the free agent market, rumors are swirling on where he’ll land.
Considering this, let’s take a look at the latest rumors and teams linked to one of the most coveted players on the market in Butler.
Los Angeles Lakers
After acquiring Anthony Davis and pairing him with LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers instantly became one of the most enticing free agency destinations. The only caveat: the Lakers current cap situation. It will be very difficult for the Lakers to create room and offer a full max contract this offseason. Instead, their best bet is to convince a top-tier free agent to take a slight discount to play for a contender in one of the largest markets in the world.
There have been a variety of rumors indicating that Butler is interested in the Lakers, but nothing more than speculation.
With the Lakers’ cap as it is and Butler likely seeking a long-term deal, a match between the two appears unlikely at the moment.
A rumor that has been picking up speed over the past week, Butler to the Houston Rockets now seems like quite a viable option.
According to Brian Smith of the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets intend to be aggressive with their pursuit of Butler this offseason.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey has been vocal that they want to add another star to the fold, and Butler could fill that need.
The only team that Butler has openly said he’d take a meeting with, the Miami Heat, are a potential option for the coveted free agent. Similar to the Lakers, cap space is a major issue for the Heat at the moment.
In order to have a chance of signing Butler, the Heat will likely need to clear players like Hassan Whiteside, Ryan Anderson and Goran Dragic from their cap books. However, finding a partner to take on these contracts will not be an easy feat.
Although cap space is a problem for the Heat at the moment, the latest rumors from Brandon Robinson indicate that Miami will meet with Butler.
While the Heat remain interested in Butler, until they make moves to clear up cap space, Butler to Miami is more of a pipe dream rather than a real match.
Although Butler opted out of his contract and decided to test the free agency market, returning to the Philadelphia 76ers seems like the most likely option.
Latest speculation from around the league indicates that the 76ers intend on offering Butler a max contract, which would be at minimum a four-year deal.
The 76ers can provide Butler more money than any other team on the market, while also providing him a long-term deal on an Eastern Conference contender.
Although Butler will explore everything, at the moment, it appears that a reunion between Butler and the 76ers is the most likely option.