The Los Angeles Clippers will be heading into the 2018-19 NBA season with their “Big Three” gone. Chris Paul just signed a new contract with the Houston Rockets. Blake Griffin is now playing for the Detroit Pistons. And DeAndre Jordan finally became a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Though the Clippers still want to remain competitive, their roster, as currently constructed, will not support a position to make a huge impact in the deep Western Conference.
With the emergence of numerous “Super Teams,” the Clippers obviously need superstars on their roster to have a chance of competing for the NBA championship title. However, it may not take long before they acquire new superstars. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Jimmy Butler is “most interested” in joining the Clippers.
“After registering a trade request with the Minnesota Timberwolves, All-Star Jimmy Butler is most interested in pursuing a future with the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources told ESPN. Butler’s ability to partner on the Clippers with a second star player in a deep summer free agency market holds a strong appeal to Butler, league sources said. 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.”
ESPN story on Jimmy Butler’s determination to land on the Clippers armed with a co-star in summer free agency. https://t.co/T5llC0gkwA
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 20, 2018
Jimmy Butler recently met with Timberwolves Head Coach Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden to discuss his future with the team. Butler is reportedly demanding a trade from the Timberwolves and prefers to be moved to the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, or the Clippers. Of all three NBA teams, Butler expressed a strong interest in playing for the Clippers where he could potentially team up with another superstar.
The Clippers are expected to open enough salary cap space for two maximum free agents next summer. Aside from potentially acquiring Jimmy Butler, the Clippers are also a front-runner to sign Toronto Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 NBA free agency. Butler and Leonard are two of the best two-way players in the league. Having both superstars in Los Angeles will undeniably make the Clippers a significant team in the league once again.
Even if the Clippers fail to acquire Leonard, there are still other NBA superstars who will hit the free agency market next offseason. One of the most intriguing free agent targets for the Clippers is Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics. In the past months, rumors and speculations continue to circulate that Butler and Irving want to play together on one team.