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NBA Free Agency Rumors: Jimmy Butler ‘open’ to joining LeBron James on the Lakers

The Lakers are in the market for a second star to play alongside LeBron James

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Merely signing LeBron James this past summer clearly wasn’t enough for the Los Angeles Lakers. Landing a player of that magnitude comes with a bit of a responsibility. You know James is going to hold up his end of the bargain, so it’s on the front office to surround him with the kind of talent that can live up to the lofty expectations fans have for this franchise.

With this in mind, the Lakers will look to add at least one superstar to the roster and hope one of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and to a lesser extent Kyle Kuzma will develop into something close as well.

The market for superstars this upcoming summer is actually pretty deep, as it would happen, and at least one is reportedly thinking about a move to Los Angeles. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report outlined what this summer might look like and added a nice detail about a potential target. Let’s get right to the good stuff.

Outside of (Kawhi) Leonard, (DeMarcus) Cousins and Butler may be the most likely to switch teams. Per a source close to Butler, he’s open to the idea of moving on from the Timberwolves to play alongside James in Los Angeles.

Butler would be a great addition and would seemingly fit very well alongside James. There are a couple concerns, though, starting with the maniacal psychopath he plays for.

The Lakers have already been bitten by the Tom Thibodeau bug once (See: Deng, Luol). Guys who spent a good portion of their career playing for Thibs age like milk. Deng, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah were all terrible returns on their third contracts. Maybe Butler bucks that trend, but he is coming off a season in which he played only 59 games, the fewest since he was a rookie.

He’s also an okay three-point shooter. He shot 35 percent on only 3.4 attempts last year and has never attempted four or more threes per game in his career. He does a ton of other stuff all over the court well, but given how hard he plays, the number of minutes he’s put in and the coach he’s done that for, the way he’ll age legitimately concerns me.

Butler has also rubbed quite a few players the wrong way, though I don’t have nearly enough details on all of this to factor it into the equation one way or another so let’s just move on.

The likely response to all that is, “caution be damned, just add a superstar,” which, fine. I guess. But the Lakers can be more discerning now that James signed for at least the next three years. Maybe in an offseason where they’re still trying to convince him to stay they would go out and get whichever stars they can, but they’ve afforded themselves the ability to prioritize fit as well as overall talent given the nature of James’ commitment to the franchise.

Butler is a fantastic player and in all likelihood would be a great addition to the roster if it’s something he’s open to. He is an absolute workhorse in every sense of the word. If we’re factoring the young core into all this, he fits well in that respect, too. There’s a ton to like here. But there’s also reason to be a little apprehensive as well.

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