Philadelphia 76ers star wing Jimmy Butler will reportedly opt out of his $19.8 million player option for the 2019-20 season.
Given that Butler is set to sign a max contract in free agency, this really can’t be seen as a surprise. With injuries to impeding free agents Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, Butler’s value on the open market has increased even more.
The four-time All-Star averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists while shooting 46 percent from the field last season.
Here, we give you the four-best potential landing spots for Butler in free agency.
At this point, it already seems as if Kyrie Irving is planning to sign with the Nets. He switched representation over to Roc Nation, an agency headed by former Nets minority owner Jay-Z. Depending on whether Brooklyn retains restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell, there could be room for another max-contract player in NYC.
Butler has already been linked to the Nets. It would represent one heck of a backcourt duo to team up with Caris LeVert and studly young big man Jarrett Allen.
Financially, it makes perfect sense for Butler to remain with Philadelphia. The most he can get from another team in free agency is $140 million over four seasons. Philadelphia can offer Butler a five-year, $189.7 million Will that near $50 million difference in guaranteed cash impact Butler’s decision? Surely.
From an on-court standpoint, Butler seemed to mesh well with young Sixers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Give him a full offseason, and that will be taken to a whole new level in 2019-20.
Los Angeles Lakers
It seems that Los Angeles is more in the trade market than free agency right now. As LeBron James has reportedly noted, the concern of impending free agents has to do with recent drama surrounding the Lakers’ organization.
Even then, Los Angeles is going to have room for one max-contract player in free agency. With Durant and Klay unlikely to be options and Kyrie Irving likely heading to Brooklyn, Butler might very well become the next best option. The idea would be to team Butler up with LeBron and potentially Anthony Davis to form a new “super team” in Hollywood. Whether that’s a strong possibility remains to be seen.
New York Knicks
New York apparently turned its attention from Kevin Durant to Kawhi Leonard, even before the former went down with a ruptured Achilles. The logical mind has to conclude that Leonard is not an option for New York. He’s either re-signing with the Raptors or heading to Los Angeles to play with the Clippers.
Butler would be the next best possible option for New York. Team him up with likely No. 3 overall pick R.J. Barrett and last year’s lottery pick Kevin Knox to build a potential playoff team back east. Weirder things have happened.