ESPN’s latest forecast does not project high odds for Jimmy Butler to the San Antonio Spurs.
The 2019 offseason remains distant, as the San Antonio Spurs, and the others 29 NBA teams, only just completed the chaos of July 2018. This featured big-name players on the move, including LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers and the deal of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors.
San Antonio is not projected to have enough cap space to acquire a marquee free agent in 2019, but the situation can change. Among them will be Jimmy Butler, who caused some speculation with the “like” of an Instagram comment that put him on the Spurs down the line.
ESPN started its predictions for the 2018-19 season, but chose to dive into the 2019 offseason and who will hit the open market. Butler’s future was predicted by ESPN’s panel, who voted where he will start the 2019-20 season. It resulted in this (numbers are in percentage):
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- New York Knicks: 42.4
- Los Angeles Lakers: 21.2
- Minnesota Timberwolves: 12.1
- Los Angeles Clippers: 3.0
- Brooklyn Nets: 3.0
- San Antonio Spurs: 3.0
- Philadelphia 76ers: 3.0
While these are hardly official odds, there’s not much sentiment that San Antonio will acquire Butler before the 2019-20 season. It would need to happen via trade, sending off Pau Gasol’s $16 million salary for 2018-19, which would take up most of Butler’s $20 million. Bryn Forbes’ $3.1 million might be necessary as well, to push approach a match, along with a young asset, like Derrick White or Lonnie Walker IV, involved.
It’s all hypothetical, though, as the Knicks and Lakers have cap space to absorb a $30 million-plus salary. Minnesota can give Butler the max at five years, too, so it puts the Spurs at a disadvantage. The circumstances may change, but it’s probably as big of a long shot as ESPN projected. Where will he go in 10 and a half months?