Whispers around league say Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard don’t want to play with LeBron James
Two of the biggest would-be NBA free agents of 2019 have reportedly have no interest in playing alongside LeBron James and the revamped Los Angeles Lakers, further reducing the team’s chances at getting a premier defensive player to pair up with the aging King.
“There are whispers around the league that neither Jimmy Butler nor Kawhi Leonard wants to play with LeBron, and sources I’ve talked to would be shocked if Klay Thompson left Golden State,” wrote NBA writer Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
Leonard was recently traded to the Toronto Raptors during the offseason, but could potentially see an avenue to land with the L.A. Clippers in hopes to return to his native Los Angeles, as originally intended after requesting a trade from the San Antonio Spurs.
Butler is coming off a very public trade request and a consequent onslaught of ire upon coming back to the practice facility to rejoin his teammates. The only three NBA teams with potential to trade for him are the Miami Heat, the Brooklyn Nets and the Clippers, leaving the Lakers altogether out of the picture, as they eventually were during the Leonard talks and with Paul George last summer.
The only hope for a dominant defensive player to pair alongside James would be Anthony Davis, who recently switched to Klutch Sports Agency, led by James’ childhood friend and business partner Rich Paul.
That connection could be the key to saving the free agency game after Butler and Leonard are rather uninterested in teaming up with James in purple-and-gold.
The NBA is bonkers.