Jimmy Butler could have become a member of the Los Angeles Lakers last summer after the blockbuster trade that brought Anthony Davis to L.A., according to a report.
“The foundational piece of ‘Heat Culture’ could have been a part of Lakers culture,” Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register reported. “Butler was discussed as an option when the Lakers considered how to use their max salary slot they cleared after the trade for Anthony Davis. They ended up waiting out the early action, when Butler was at the center of a sign-and-trade deal from Philadelphia (where he had also worn out his welcome) to Miami. Kawhi Leonard ended up signing with the Clippers, creating an NBA without a true super team.”
With a maximum salary slot opened up by the Davis acquisition, Butler was among a number of players who fit the bill. Butler eventually ended up in a Miami Heat uniform following a sign-and-trade deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Kawhi Leonard, whom the Lakers brass chose to aggressively pursue rather than Butler, rejected the opportunity to play alongside Davis and LeBron James, opting instead to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers to form a superstar duo with Paul George.
Butler, James and Davis would have formed a team that could have rivaled the Golden State Warriors’ dynastic run of recent years had the Heat star joined the Purple and Gold.
Additionally, Butler’s presence on the 2019-20 Lakers squad would have almost certainly prevented the Heat from reaching this year’s NBA Finals barring the addition of another major superstar.
Though Butler would have almost guaranteed a Lakers championship regardless of who represented the Eastern Conference this season, James and Davis have proven to be more than capable as a superstar duo.
The Lakers are 12-3 in the playoffs heading into the Game 1 of the NBA Finals this Wednesday. The Heat are also 12-3 heading into the championship round.