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The Brooklyn Nets intend to pursue Jimmy Butler in free agency and those around the league seem to believe they have a shot to sign him, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
Butler was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in November and will become an unrestricted free agent July 1. The 6-foot-7 swingman performed well in the playoffs before the Sixers were eliminated from the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Toronto Raptors in seven games on a last-second shot by Kawhi Leonard.
Butler is considered one of the best and brightest among the “second tier” of top free agents — behind the likes of Leonard, Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Boston’s Kyrie Irving. While Butler can be a handful for coaches and his teammates, the Sixers are hopeful of bringing him back as part of a core that also includes Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Meanwhile, the Nets have continued to show improvement behind a young nucleus D’Angelo Russell (a restricted free agent), Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie. Butler’s Sixers eliminated the Nets in the first round of the playoffs.
“Would the 76ers give Butler a max deal considering his age, the tread on his tires, his temperament and their desire to re-sign Tobias Harris?” Lewis wrote. “If they don’t (maybe even if they do) the Nets’ young core and surprising sixth-place finish in the East have impressed Butler and others.”