Kawhi Leonard Rumors: 'Noise Is Elevating' About Jimmy Butler Duo with Clippers

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 30, 2019

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 17:  Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors holds the MVP trophy during the Toronto Raptors Victory Parade on June 17, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. The Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 4-2 to win the 2019 NBA Finals.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Clippers may have missed out on new Brooklyn Net Kevin Durant, but they could be landing a superstar duo to a 48-34 team that pushed the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors to six games in the first round of the playoffs.

"Noise is elevating" regarding Toronto Raptors free-agent forward Kawhi Leonard and Philadelphia 76ers guard/forward Jimmy Butler teaming up on the Los Angeles Clippers, per ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.

Smith also reported that the move "makes sense" considering that power forward Tobias Harris re-signed with the 76ers.

Leonard, 28, averaged 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game for the Raptors en route to leading them to their first NBA title. The two-time NBA Finals MVP averaged 28.5 points and 9.8 rebounds in a six-game championship round win over the back-to-back defending champion Golden State Warriors.

Butler, 29, posted 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists for the Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves. He particularly excelled in the 76ers' seven-game Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Raps, averaging 22.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.6 assists.

According to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype, the Clippers can create two max free-agency slots by dealing forward Danilo Gallinari, giving them room to add Butler and Leonard.

That in turn could make the Clips the NBA championship favorites, although Leonard is heavily rumored to join the crosstown rival Lakers. Chris Broussard of Fox Sports reported Sunday that the Lakers are his "top choice," which would create a dominant big three alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The Lakers are currently tops on the odds ledger at 2-1 to win the 2019-20 title, per Caesars Palace. The Clips are listed at 8-1.