Ah, the NBA offseason. When clothing and accessory choices are looked at with a magnifying glass just to find any potential clues as to what that player might be doing when it comes time to make a decision on their playing future. On off days between NBA Finals games, such speculation can lead you down all kinds of rabbit holes.
Case in point: Jimmy Butler rocking a pair of purple and gold Air Force Ones and making sure they were front and center of a couple pictures he took from a (his?) private jet while leaving Los Angeles:
And as long as we’re speculating, Kyle Kuzma apparently just followed Butler on Instagram.
So, what number do you think Butler will wear with the Lakers?
But in all seriousness, Butler’s shoe color choice can mean one of three things:
First and foremost (and also the most fun) is this being nice flirtation tactic with the Lakers, who have the space to sign him and then could flip whoever it takes to land Anthony Davis. Such a hypothetical would be very appealing to Butler, who has always seemed to care first and foremost about winning, even if his attempts at leadership are, um, interesting (shouts to all the tour de force fans out there).
Rocking a pair of purple and gold shoes also sends a nice message to the Philadelphia 76ers front office, just in case they waiver a little on whether or not offering up a max contract to Butler makes sense for them moving forward. Using the Lakers as leverage is a free agency tactic dating back to before roads were paved, basically.
Lastly, this could just be Butler loving the look of these shoes, which are undeniably really freakin’ clean. I especially like the darker shades of both the purple and gold here, as the Lakers spent last season playing in banana-colored uniforms. I might’ve gone with laces that would match the purple, but that’s just me.
Hypothetical reads of shoe color choice aside, this is all in good fun. Given all the other stuff we’ve had to read and write about the Lakers, theorizing on what a free agent’s clothing might mean is some of the most positive analysis we’ve had in a little while. Now, if Davis snaps a pic rocking the same pair of shoes, then we’re really cooking with (private) jet fuel.