NBA Analyst Identifies Third-Best Free Agent

After Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, who is the best NBA free agent? Reid Forgrave gives his pick – and it isn't Kyrie Irving

Reiter Than You
June 25, 2019 - 8:21 pm
Kyrie Irving Celtics

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Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard are the biggest fish in the free-agent pond, but who’s No. 3? Who’s the most valuable NBA asset outside of KD and Kawhi?

“I think a lot of people would answer Kyrie, and I wouldn’t,” CBSSports.com NBA writer Reid Forgrave said on Reiter Than You. “If he’s the third leg of the stool on the Lakers and they can pull that off, that’s awesome. That would be one of the biggest Big Threes we’ve ever seen. I don’t think Kyrie Irving can be the best player on a championship team. He really detonated Danny Ainge – not just detonated that locker room, but detonated years of very careful planning by Danny Ainge.”

If not Irving, then who?

“I saw what he could do as far as detonating the franchise, but I think the guy might be Jimmy Butler,” Forgrave said. “Not at the end of a four- or five-year deal, but at the beginning of it? I think his defense has fallen off slightly. He’s not All-Defense First Team maybe anymore, but I think he can be at certain points, and the dude is just so clutch. He can do what a team needs.”

Butler, who turns 30 in September, averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.9 assists for the 76ers this past season, this after forcing his way out of Minnesota.

“You are obviously taking a risk when you are bringing Jimmy Butler into a locker room,” Forgrave said. “He’s mercurial. I find him to be absolutely charming sometimes, a very bright young man, and I find him to be an absolute jerk other times who can be straight-up unkind – not just to the media, which he certainly can be, but also to his teammates. Some of the stories I heard coming out of Minneapolis were just awful.

“But I think if Jimmy Butler can be kept in check, I love the idea of AD and LeBron and Jimmy Butler,” Forgrave continued. “Jimmy’s not going to be bullying LeBron. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think Jimmy might be my pick once you take those other guys out of it.”

Click below to listen to Forgrave’s interview in its entirety.