The Philadelphia 76ers have had a monster week, getting four wins in six nights, including games against the Celtics and Bucks.
Jimmy Butler was crucial for them down the stretch of these games, proving yet again how important he is for the team in closing situations. Unfortunately, he is also up for free agency, and there is a good chance he leaves Philadelphia, with New York likely being his next landing spot.
There have been chemistry issues with Butler, though certainly not on the scale we saw in Minnesota, and front-office sources believe he will angle to go to either Brooklyn or New York, with the Clippers a possibility, too.
That’s not ruling out a return to the Sixers, but Philadelphia needs to be cautious about making a five-year commitment to a player who turns 30 in September.
D’Angelo Russell gives the Nets something the Knicks don’t: a star. A Butler/Russell backcourt is every GM’s dream, and it is a scenario that looks very likely considering Brooklyn’s cap-space this summer and their attractively successful season. The Knicks, while in the midst of a terrible season, are not far behind. They have cap space as well, and Butler may not be alone if he elects to sign there.
In Los Angeles, Doc Rivers has the team poised for playoff position and looking good going into the postseason. But Butler will likely not be at the top of their recruiting list, with them being in heavy pursuit of Kawhi Leonard.
Jimmy Butler will not be the biggest domino to fall, and he will likely not be the first either. But his decision will have an impact on the rest of the league, especially New York, as they position themselves to resurrect their basketball relevancy.