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The Jimmy Butler era in Philadelphia might be coming to an end, unless the veteran small forward decides to opt in for the last year of his deal and rejoin the Sixers (which is very unlikely), who also have to deal with unrestricted free agents Tobias Harris and JJ Redick.
If Butler does indeed decline the option to test the open market, there should be a number of teams lining up for his services. While controversial at times, Butler is still playing at an All-Star level and is one of the best two-way players available in free agency.
Here are three teams most likely to sign Butler this summer if he makes his exit from the City of Brotherly Love.
3. Los Angeles Clippers
As one of the teams with the most cap space heading into free agency, the Clippers are being linked to several big-name free agents, from Kevin Durant to Kawhi Leonard. If they miss out on both, Butler will be a nice consolation prize. He fits the Clippers hard-nosed style of play, and can assume the role of alpha dog on offense (well, at least when Lou Williams in on the bench). At the moment though, this prediction is based more on fit than actual hearsay.
2. Brooklyn Nets
Like the Clippers, the Nets will be one of the top suitors for Butler based on having a ton of cap space. The Nets will also be in play for Durant, and have additionally been tied to Kyrie Irving despite employing D'Angelo Russell at point guard. Butler would provide some much needed veteran leadership for the Nets (and not the Jared Dudley kind) and was first linked to Brooklyn when the Timberwolves were shopping him earlier in the season.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Will the master of tampering get his way? If yes, that will mean LeBron was able to lure one big free agent to the Lakers and Jimmy Butler could be it. There are questions about whether LeBron and Butler would get along on a basketball court, but at the end of the day, the King may be forced to make it work. The Lakers are clearly in need of a veteran star to pair with LeBron and, if Leonard and other free agents don't pan out, Butler might be the default option. Additionally, there have been recent reports that LeBron and Butler have spoken and Jimmy would be "thrilled" to join the Lakers if offered a max contract.
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