Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Something that could impact the Knicks and Nets: Multiple teams have expressed interest in pairing Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler together in free agency this summer, per league sources familiar with the matter.
Those teams, obviously, would need to create the cap space required to sign both players. The teams interested in Butler and Leonard believe they would have interest in playing on the same team, per league sources.
This doesn't suggest that Leonard is seeking to team up with any other player; that doesn't fit his persona. But teams interested in pairing Leonard and Butler believe they would have interest in playing together.
ESPN reported on Tuesday that the Houston Rockets have interest in executing a sign-and-trade with the Philadelphia 76ers to obtain Butler.
The Raptors, Clippers and Lakers are widely seen as the teams most likely to land Leonard, the 2019 NBA Finals MVP.
The Knicks have interest in Leonard, and some around Leonard see New York as a potential destination for the two-way star.
The Nets have strong interest in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, and reportedly also have interest in Leonard.
The potential of Leonard and Butler ending up on the same team would shrink the pool of top free agents for other teams who have significant cap space. That could in turn create more competition for the Knicks and Nets for their top targets.
The Sixers have interest in re-signing Butler. Philadelphia can offer Butler a five-year, $190 million deal. Other teams can offer Butler a four-year, $140 million contract.
Similarly, the Raptors can offer Leonard an extra year (five) and around $50 million more in total than any other suitor, including the Clippers.