The acquisition of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris made most people believe that the Philadelphia 76ers were ready to contend for the NBA championship title in the 2018-19 NBA season. In the Eastern Conference Playoffs 2019, the Sixers easily defeated the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, but they ended up getting eliminated by the Toronto Raptors in the second round. With their season officially over, the Sixers will now need to face a tough decision regarding their roster as their two newest members, Butler and Harris, are set to become unrestricted free agents next July.
More than one month before the 2019 NBA free agency begins, there are speculations that Jimmy Butler will be parting ways with the Sixers next summer. The rumors heated up when Butler thanked the Sixers in an Instagram post which could be a hint that he has already played his first and last season in the City of Brotherly Love. If Butler decides to entertain offers from other NBA teams when he hits the free agency market, one of the NBA who could try to steal him from the Sixers is the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets will be heading into the 2019 NBA offseason with the goal of building a roster that can legitimately contend for the NBA championship title. Though they are expected to have a strong competition in getting the service of Jimmy Butler, Brian Lewis of the New York Post revealed that the Nets have a “very real chance” of acquiring the All-Star forward next July.
“Kevin Durant may be the Nets’ top target in free agency, but he’s not the only one. The feeling around the NBA is the Nets will have a very real chance to pry four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler away from Philadelphia. Finally having the cash and cachet to get looks from the top free agents this July, Nets general manager Sean Marks is expected to be in the hunt for both Durant and Kyrie Irving. But Butler isn’t just a fall-back plan; he’s a two-way star league sources said the Nets have a real shot at landing.”
Jimmy Butler didn't offer much when the topic of free agency came up during his Sixers exit interview: "I haven't thought about it too much. ... There's a lot that goes into it." https://t.co/2NfkpXfDtZ— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) May 14, 2019
Jimmy Butler will undeniably be an intriguing addition to the Nets, giving them a second superstar alongside D’Angelo Russell. Aside from having a very reliable option on the offensive end of the floor, the Nets could also task Butler to guard the opposing team’s best player in crucial situations. In 55 games he played this season, Butler averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.8 steals on 46.1 percent shooting from the field and 33.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Aside from Jimmy Butler, other potential free-agent targets for the Nets include Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics, Kevin Durant of the Golden Staten Warriors, Tobias Harris of the Sixers, and Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors.