Report: Latest on Jimmy Butler-Kawhi Leonard to Clippers; 76ers Open to Trade

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 27, 2019

Toronto Raptors' Kawhi Leonard, left, drives against Philadelphia 76ers' Jimmy Butler, right, during the second half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in Philadelphia. The Raptors won 101-96. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

It appears the Houston Rockets will have significant competition from another Western Conference team for Jimmy Butler during free agency.

Per The Athletic's Sam Amick, sources believe a pairing of Butler and Kawhi Leonard with the Los Angeles Clippers "looks increasingly possible."

Amick added it is "looking likely" the Philadelphia 76ers would be willing to be part of a sign-and-trade deal involving Butler if they are unable to re-sign the four-time All-Star.

ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday the Rockets were exploring a sign-and-trade with the Sixers to team Butler with James Harden and Chris Paul.

In order to make the money work, Wojnarowski said Houston would have to include at least two of Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker.

The Clippers currently have $54.1 million in cap space to spend, which isn't enough to sign two max players. Amick noted Danilo Gallinari would likely have to be moved if they want to pull off deals for Leonard and Butler.

Of course, there's also the situation with Leonard and the Toronto Raptors. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported the 2019 NBA Finals MVP is "seriously considering" re-signing with the reigning NBA champions.

The Clippers seemed to be plotting during the 2018-19 season to make at least one major move this summer. They dealt Tobias Harris, who was in the final year of his deal, to Philadelphia in February for Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, Landry Shamet and four future draft picks, including two first-rounders in 2020 and 2021.

After winning 48 games built around a young core that includes Shamet, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Montrezl Harrell, the Clippers have a lot of strong selling points for any free agent.

Butler and Leonard will be able to decide their respective futures when they are allowed to start negotiating with teams starting at 6 p.m. ET on June 30.