The start of NBA Free Agency is just under a week away. Many different players will be finding new teams. One potential player to do so is four-time all-star Jimmy Butler. For the first time in his eight-year NBA career, Butler will be an unrestricted free agent and will be free to sign with any team he chooses. He will have plenty of teams interested in signing him which makes his possibilities endless. So which team will he end up playing for next season?
The Philadelphia 76ers might just be the most likely and quite frankly the best place for Butler to be next season. After being traded by the Minnesota Timberwolves last season he seemed to fit seamlessly into that system. He wasn’t always the primary scorer but seemed to accept his role and contribute solid minutes every night. If he chose to return he would also be continuing to play for a true contender. Last season the 76ers went as far as to force a game seven against the eventual NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors. Who knows how far they could have gone if Kawhi Leonard hadn’t hit a last-second shot that ended their title hopes. He could immediately rejoin the young core of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and help take that team to the next level. Signing a new contract with Philadelphia may just be the best thing for both sides.
If Butler wants to move on from Philadelphia, the Brooklyn Nets are probably his best landing spot. The Nets have enough cap space to sign two max contracts this offseason and have already been rumored to have a commitment from Kyrie Irving. Butler could join a team that finished with the sixth overall seed in the East last season and join another star. He could form a lethal duo there while also helping to continue the development of their young core. His and another star’s signing would almost certainly bring the Nets towards the top of the East. If Butler does wish to move on from Philly the Nets should be the first team he looks at.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks are another team that has a plethora of cap space and will almost definitely make an attempt at signing Butler. They have enough cap space to sign two max free agents to pair with their young core led by rookie R.J. Barrett. If Butler and another max player were to sign there they could immediately transform New York into a super team. Barret, Butler, and a third star would not be a team to take lightly. The only problem with signing in New York is that he’d have to play on the team with the leagues worst record last season. Unlike the 76ers and the Nets, this team is not an established one and will need plenty of help. If Butler does choose to sign here he will have his work cut out for him.
Butler to the Miami Heat as a free agent signing is currently impossible. They have almost zero cap space to sign players let alone a max contract which Butler will command. The way he could potentially end up in Miami is through a sign and trade with Philadelphia. There has been plenty of mutual interest between Butler and Miami throughout the past year. The Heat had reportedly made quite a big offer when he was being auctioned off by the Timberwolves. Butler also recently stated that he would definitely meet with Miami this offseason. Miami would need to give up significant compensation to acquire him though. Players like Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow, and Dion Waiters would all need to be made available in talks. Butler to Miami may be a longshot, but the interest is definitely very real.
Butler to the Houston Rockets probably isn’t happening, but it needs to be noted as a possibility. Houston has reportedly expressed serious interest in acquiring Butler this offseason. With the Rocket’s current cap situation signing him is going to be impossible. The contracts of players such as James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela simply take up too much space for Butler to even be a possibility. The only way they could possibly get him is through a sign and trade. Houston would need to give up at the bare minimum Paul and a couple of future draft picks. Paul’s contract alone makes it highly unlikely that Philadelphia would ever agree to this trade which makes Houston a very unlikely destination.
When free agency does officially begin it is certain that many teams will go after Butler. A return to Philly may be what’s best for him, but he will have plenty of suitors if he does wish to leave. Wherever he ends up signing he will definitely be one of the biggest players to keep an eye on this offseason.
Embed from Getty Images
View the original article on Last Word On Pro Basketball: NBA Free Agency: Best Landing Spots for Jimmy Butler