The Los Angeles Lakers are a team that jumps on any available superstar free agent, and Jimmy Butler is no exception to the Purple and Gold’s standard of drawing in big-name players.
According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the Lakers tried to attain Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves, but the two couldn’t reach an agreement for the All-Star shooting guard. As a result, Butler was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Jerryd Bayless, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and a 2022 second-round draft pick.
A second star next to James would have greatly benefited the Lakers, and it was clear that without a solidified sidekick, James was unable to will the lowly team to the playoffs. With the combination of Butler and James, the Lakers would have certainly been contenders in the West (considering they kept Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma in the trade for Butler).
Butler is playing great alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid on the 76ers while averaging 18.7 points per game on 46.6% shooting, and the team is emerging as one of the greatest teams in the East. Right now, the only thing that stands between Jimmy Butler and the NBA Finals are the Milwaukee Bucks, and it’s likely that the Raptors won’t be able to defeat the trio of Embiid, Simmons, and Butler.
The trade that never happened between the Lakers and Jimmy Butler became a tale of two cities. Butler went on to play on a team that will likely contend for a champion if they defeat the Bucks while the Lakers are heading home after missing the playoffs for the sixth straight season.
Since the passing of Jerry Buss, the Lakers are struggling to find the magical spark that has led the Purple and Gold to 16 NBA Championships and has been able to breed some of the greatest players in NBA history. As a result, they aren’t able to strongarm teams into making trades anymore, and thus, they missed out on Jimmy Butler.