Clippers Rumors: LA Exploring Signing Both Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 30, 2019

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, center left, celebrates after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers are entertaining the possibility of inking two of the best two-way players in the game shortly.

That's per Marc Stein of the New York Times, who tweeted that the Clips are "exploring the feasibility" of landing Toronto Raptors free-agent forward Kawhi Leonard and Philadelphia 76ers free-agent guard/forward Jimmy Butler after free agency begins Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.

Stein added more context:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

Leonard wants to be joined by a top-flight free agent if he decides to leave Toronto for the Clippers and Butler's rugged two-way game makes for an intriguing pairing. Clippers adviser Jerry West is also a known admirer of Butler

Leonard averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game en route to leading the Raps to their first NBA title. Butler posted 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists last season for the 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Clippers finished 48-34 and pushed the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors to six games in the first round of the 2018-19 playoffs.

They aren't far from seriously contending for an NBA title with the addition of one superstar, but adding two bona fide All-Stars could make Los Angeles the league favorite heading into the 2019-20 season.

Cap space isn't an issue: Per Frank Urbina of HoopsHype, the Clippers "should have around $46.9 million in cap room" and will have more if they trade wing Danilo Gallinari. That in turn would give them two max slots.

Competition for their services is a problem, though.

The Houston Rockets and Miami Heat are meeting with Butler, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, and the 76ers can offer Butler a five-year max deal to stay.

As for Leonard, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports that the 2019 NBA Finals MVP is meeting with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and ex-team president of basketball operations Magic Johnson.

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski wrote that the New York Knicks (and Clips) could be a landing spot for Leonard and Golden State Warriors free-agent forward Kevin Durant. Of course, the defending champion Raptors are still a possibility.

Still, the Clippers are strongly in the mix, which is all the team can ask for with free agency on the horizon.