With the roughly $32 million they’ll have in cap space this summer, the Los Angeles Lakers are planning on pursuing four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Butler intends to decline his player option ahead of free agency on July 1:
Butler’s agent, Bernie Lee, has been resolute since Butler’s trade demand out of Minnesota that any teams interested in him would be competing with multiple maximum contract offers, and that market is revealing itself to be true.
The Los Angeles Lakers have genuine interest in acquiring Butler, sources said.
This is not the first time Butler has been connected to the Lakers, and it sounds like it won’t be the last.
The Lakers’ interest in Butler is an absolute no-brainer from their perspective.
Since winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2015, Butler has established himself as one of the league’s elite two-way wings and, according to ESPN’s Real Defensive Plus-Minus, he’s the best defensive shooting guard in the league.
Offensively, his fit might alongside LeBron James might be a little clunky (especially since his 3-point efficiency took a dip last season) but he’s someone that can generate his own offense, which is something the Lakers have lacked on their roster over the last few years.
Butler might not be in the same free agency tier that Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving are, but he’s arguably the most likely to come to Los Angeles out of that group. Considering how wide open the Western Conference will be next season, adding Butler could make the Lakers contenders as soon as next season, with or without Anthony Davis.