Report: Clippers frontrunners for Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler
The Los Angeles Lakers won the summer by landing LeBron James, but their intracity rivals may be turning the tables on them as early as next summer.
Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler requested a trade from the team on Wednesday, and reports have since emerged that the LA Clippers are his preferred destination. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN further reported that the Clippers are also “emerging as a front-runner” to sign Kawhi Leonard.
This is corroborated by Arash Markazi, also of ESPN, who adds that executive Jerry West is planning for Butler and Leonard to be on the Clippers in 2019.
Jerry West has a plan and that plan includes Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler playing for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2019. https://t.co/v7IS8dxZiA
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) September 20, 2018
Butler, 29, and Leonard, 27, will both be unrestricted free agents after the 2018-19 season. As for the Clippers, they should easily be able to carve out two max salary slots with eight players (Tobias Harris, Marcin Gortat, Boban Marjanovic, Milos Teodosic, Wesley Johnson, Patrick Beverley, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Mike Scott) coming off the books next year. Avery Bradley also only has a partial guarantee for 2019-20, creating further potential flexibility.
Leonard had previously been linked to the Clippers in recent months, and they are already making moves to that effect as well. Landing both him and Butler, a pair of truly elite two-way wings, would certainly be one heck of a way for the team to bounce back from the demise of their Lob City era.