The NBA doesn’t have a catchy nickname for its offseason like baseball does with its Hot Stove League, but maybe it should.
The league’s offseason clearly has surpassed MLB’s in recent years in terms of activity and interest, and this year is no exception.
Until then, all we have are insider reports and speculation, and there have been some doozies. The latest involves NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard heading west to form a new superteam.
My latest read on the free agency landscape and how the two mystery men at the top – Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant – will set the tone for it all. A new Clippers possibility that could be emerging. Rumblings elsewhere too, at @TheAthletic. https://t.co/plk2Ri70Yu
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 27, 2019
The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported Thursday that the prospect of Philadelphia 76ers star Jimmy Butler and Toronto Raptors star Leonard moving to the Los Angeles Clippers “looks increasingly possible.”
The Clippers have only $54.1 million in cap space, according to Amick, via Bleacher Report. That’s not enough to sign two max players, so if this were to happen, LA would likely have to move forward Danilo Gallinari.
Amick also reported that it is “looking likely” that the 76ers would be open to doing a sign-and-trade deal involving Butler if they can’t re-sign him.
The Clippers won 48 games last year and were one of the biggest surprises in the league. Adding Leonard and Butler certainly would shake up the hierarchy of the Western Conference.
Yahoo Sports confirmed Leonard’s interest in the Clippers, reporting Thursday that Leonard intends to meet with the team when free agency opens Sunday, according to league sources.
Haynes also said Leonard planned to meet with the Clippers’ crosstown rival, the Lakers, who made some minor moves Thursday to open up one max slot.
They shipped Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones to the Washington Wizards, ESPN reported. It’s part of the deal that brought Anthony Davis to the Lakers. In this three-team deal, the New Orleans Pelicans will receive cash from the Wizards.
The Lakers are trading Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones to Wizards as part of the Anthony Davis deal with New Orleans, league sources tell @ZachLowe_NBA and me. Deal clears contracts and creates more cap space for free agency.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 27, 2019
The move, along with Davis reportedly waiving his $4 million trade bonus, would clear up enough cap space, $32 million, for the Lakers to sign a max player, ESPN reported.
Yahoo Sports also reported earlier this week that Leonard is “seriously considering” re-signing with Toronto.
As for Butler, the Houston Rockets have expressed interest in bringing him to Houston via a sign and trade, ESPN reported Wednesday. The Rockets would have to move Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker to free up enough space to bring in Butler.
As of now, it’s all fluid, but things will start to take shape Sunday night.
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