Lakers Trade Rumors: LA Inquired About Jimmy Butler Move Before 76ers Made Deal

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers' Jimmy Butler during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday, March 17, 2019, in Milwaukee. The 76ers won 130-125. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Aaron Gash/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis isn't the only big name the Los Angeles Lakers made a run at this season. 

According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Magic Johnson and Co. inquired about Jimmy Butler after the four-time All-Star publicly demanded to be traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves last year.

Minnesota ultimately traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers in November.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported in September that the Los Angeles Clippers, the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks topped Butler's list of preferred landing spots. Wojnarowski later added Butler was "most determined" to become a Clipper.

It's important to note that The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported in October that Butler did not want to play with LeBron James, seemingly making the Lakers a bad match.

Failing to add a second star has proved costly. As James, Rajon Rondo, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram have all missed extended time due to injuries, the Lakers (33-42) have already been eliminated from postseason contention for the sixth consecutive season.

Meanwhile, Butler has had little trouble fitting in with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia. He has averaged 18.7 points on 46.6 percent shooting in 52 appearances with his new team. The Sixers are 40-21 since the early season acquisition and currently sit in third place in the Eastern Conference.

Butler holds a $19.8 million player option for the 2019-20 season, meaning he can test the open market this offseason if he wants. If he does, the Lakers will have the opportunity to further pursue him.