As the Los Angeles Lakers have started 2019 NBA pre-draft workouts, all of the attention remains on free agency in search of a second All-Star player.
While there will be conflicting reports leading up to June 30, it appears two All-Star players are at least considering playing with LeBron James.
With Kyrie Irving reportedly ‘more open’ to signing with the Lakers, James has already spoken to Jimmy Butler about teaming up in Los Angeles.
Since Butler has previously been connected to the Lakers, he reportedly would sign with them ‘in a second’ if they offered him a max contract to begin free agency, according to Arash Markazi of Los Angeles Times:
When @ColinCowherd asked me this morning on @TheHerd what star player the Lakers could realistically sign, I didn’t waste any time saying Jimmy Butler. He likes L.A, LeBron James has been in touch with him and he would join the Lakers in a second if they offered him a max deal. pic.twitter.com/wXStzcAFzh
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) May 24, 2019
Now, executives expect the Philadelphia 76ers to offer a max contract to Butler after trading for him during the 2018-19 NBA season, via NBA on ESPN:
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 1, 2019
When the 76ers traded Dario Saric and Robert Covington for Butler, it seemed they were prepared to make a long-term commitment. However, the narrative started to change following the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline.
In a surprising move, the 76ers traded for Tobias Harris to establish one of the best starting lineups in the league. With Butler and Harris both becoming free agents, there was a scenario where they may have to choose one.
Although it is unclear if the 76ers will offer Butler a fully guaranteed fifth year, they can offer him a five-year, $190 million deal. As for the Lakers and other teams, they can only offer him a four-year, $141 million deal.
While there are obviously other targets ahead of Butler, he would not be the worst signing if the Lakers ultimately strike out. Although there may be concerns about Butler, he is still one of the better players in the league.
If the Lakers cannot sign a second All-Star player, Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, and Chris Paul have been mentioned as potential trade targets.