Kawhi Leonard might have found the perfect sidekick in Jimmy Butler, as the Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly exploring the feasibility of signing both players in free agency. Even though the Clippers haven’t been making all the noise that other teams have ahead of the open market, they might end up getting two of the most coveted players this summer.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, once the free agency is opened on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET., the Californians will try to ink the Toronto Raptors free agent forward Kawhi Leonard and Philadelphia 76ers free agent guard/forward Jimmy Butler.
Kawhi has stated he wants another top-tier free agent to join him if he goes to the Clippers and Butler looks like a very good option. Plus, Clippers adviser Jerry West has big admiration for the former Chicago Bulls player.
Leonard comes from winning his second NBA title with the Toronto Raptors, the team he led to dethrone the defending champions Golden State Warriors in six games, earning his second Finals MVP award. Kawhi averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game en route to take the Raps to win their first NBA title. Butler, on the other side, posted 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists last season for the 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Clippers won 48 games last season with a young group of players that knew how to put some pressure on the Warriors during the first round of the playoffs. Seeing how good the team looked without a superstar, if they land Kawhi this season the Clippers would be an instant candidate to take it all. If Butler joins the Klaw, then there won’t be much competition for them on their way to the Finals.
Frank Urbina of HoopsHype states that the Clippers "should have around $46.9 million in cap room" and will have more if they trade Danilo Gallinari, which shouldn't be a problem, as that move would give them two max slots.
Nevertheless, the Clippers face tough competition for both players, as Butler is expected to meet with the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets once the free agency begins and, the Sixers can still offer a max deal to retain him.
Leonard, in the meantime, will do the same with the other team the city of Los Angeles has, the Lakers. Besides, the Knicks and Clippers remain as potential landing spots for the Klaw, but he still can decide to keep his talents in Toronto with the Raptors.
The Clippers know they have a chance and knowing that they only have to do their best to attract both Leonard and Butler to go play at Staples Center.