When the NBA free agency period officially opens at 6:00 pm tomorrow evening, all eyes in Philadelphia will surely be on Jimmy Butler.

Butler gave Sixers fans more than they could have asked for in last years playoff run. He averaged 19.4 points and 5.2 assists in 12 total games against the Nets and Raptors. Jimmy is one of a number of high caliber players set to hit the unrestricted free agent market this summer. Although Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that the Sixers intend on offering Butler the max, 5 year – $190 million, there are several other teams fighting for his services. While nobody outside of Butler and his camp truly knows what direction he is leaning, Jimmy will certainly have a number of teams to choose from.

Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers arguably retain the greatest chance of signing Butler, based on their ability to offer Jimmy a five year max contract that other teams would be unable to match. Returning to the Sixers make a lot of sense for Jimmy at this point in his career. The young team gives him an opportunity to be an outspoken leader on the court and provide a veteran presence in the locker room.

The Sixers provide a young duo in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid that will likely keep the Sixers toward the top of the Eastern Conference for years to come.

Houston Rockets

It has been widely reported over the course of the last week that Daryl Morey and the Rockets are interested in executing a sign-and-trade with the Sixers in order to acquire Jimmy Butler. Houston is Jimmy’s hometown, so the team does create a strong fit geographically. However, on the court, Harden and Butler do not form an ideal duo based on their styles of play. Neither of these players are especially effective off-ball, lowering the overall ceiling of the pairing’s potential. Houston is also one of the more complicated scenarios that could occur.

Jimmy choosing the Rockets is not the only hurdle that both parties would have to overcome. The Rockets would have to clear a large amount of cap space and create a trade package that is strong enough to entice the Sixers.

Los Angeles Lakers

The reports of Jimmy possibly joining the Lakers and becoming the third wheel to LeBron James and Anthony Davis refuses to go away. Los Angeles is a top tier market for athletes looking to grow their individual brands. The city is also an attractive destination that a majority of NBA players seek to live in. Jimmy joining L.A would instantly make the Lakers favorites to win the title in 2020.

For the Lakers to win the Butler sweepstakes, Jimmy would be willingly signing for close to $50 million dollars less than the Sixers have to offer.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers are a very intriguing option for a player like Jimmy Butler. The team is currently ripe with talented shooters that would compliment Butler’s skillset nicely. The Clippers have also been mentioned as a potential destination for free agent superstar, Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi and Jimmy’s complimentary skillsets would create a formidable one-two punch in L.A. The two of them, together, would strongly compete against the Lakers and the rest of the Western Conference.

In the event that Kawhi stays in Toronto, Jimmy alone would still be a nice consolation prize to play alongside shooters like Landry Shamet and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Miami Heat

If the Sixers are willing to participate in a sign-and-trade of Jimmy, the Miami Heat would also open up as a possible landing spot. There have been recent reports stating that there is mutual interest between Jimmy and the Heat. The Heat are another team, similar to the Lakers and Clippers, that often utilizes their geographical location in order to lure players. However, Jimmy going to the Heat would likely rely on the Sixers willingness to participate because of the Heat’s lack of financial flexibility. It is very difficult to visualize a package that the Sixers would find tempting, assuming that the Heat are unwilling to include Josh Richardson in any trade offers.

The Jimmy Butler rumors will continue to swirl until the day that he has officially signed on the dotted line. Because it is impossible to determine what factors currently drive Butler’s decision-making process, any published rumors are likely guesses at this point. With that being said, it is tough to imagine Butler turning down the 5 year – $190 million max contract that Elton Brand is able to offer.

Sixers fans need to hope that a max contract and last years playoff run are enough to draw Jimmy back to Philly for a few more shots at a championship.

Featured Image: Mohammad Dahil/Washington Post
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