With one game remaining in the 2018-19 NBA season against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Los Angeles Lakers are shifting their focus to the 2019 NBA Draft and free agency.
Despite all of the injuries to LeBron James and the young core, there are expected to be drastic changes as the Lakers are looking to end their six-year playoff drought.
While much of the attention has been on head coach Luke Walton’s future, there have been conflicting reports about adding a second All-Star player via trade or free agency.
As it appears names like Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard will either re-sign or sign elsewhere, rival executives reportedly think Jimmy Butler will sign with the Lakers or Brooklyn Nets, according to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:
Rival executives will tell you, without hesitation, that Durant is bound for the Knicks; that Irving is likely to join him; that Leonard likes the Clippers; that Butler might choose the Lakers—unless he chooses the Nets.
Although the Philadelphia 76ers traded Dario Saric and Robert Covington for Butler, they also traded for Tobias Harris at the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline. With both players becoming free agents, there is a scenario where the 76ers focus on Harris first which could lead to Butler looking elsewhere.
Since president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka took over, they have envisioned two All-Star players. If the Lakers do have an opportunity to sign Butler, it will be interesting to see if they offer the 29-year-old a four-year, max contract or adjust their plans.