The 2018-19 NBA season has not officially started, but upcoming free agents like Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard are already thinking ahead to July 1, 2019.
With Butler requesting a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, he is reportedly ‘most determined’ to join the Los Angeles Clippers, but also included the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks on his list of preferred destinations.
As the Clippers are expected to have have two max-salary contract slots available in free agency, it appears Butler could get some help if it all goes according to his plan.
Despite Leonard being traded to the Toronto Raptors, the Clippers have emerged as the frontrunner to sign him, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Clippers have two max contract slots available in July, and are emerging as a front-runner for Toronto’s All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard when he becomes a free agent in July, league sources said.
Throughout the upcoming season, there will be conflicting reports about Butler and Leonard. Butler was reportedly open to playing with LeBron James, but are now said to no longer be of interest to him because of the 14-time All-Star.
Meanwhile, it was suggested the Lakers have a significant chance to sign Leonard as a free agent.
Unlike free agency this year, the Lakers should have several top options in 2019. However, more competition as well as numerous teams will also have cap space.
Boasting James and a talented young core, they will have $38 million in cap space available in a free agency market that is expected to also feature DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson.