It’s official: Jimmy Butler will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. According to a report by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Butler will unsurprisingly decline the player option on the final year of his contract and opt to see how much money he can receiver on the open market. It’s a move that has been long-assumed, as Butler is expected to command more than the $19.8 million he would have made next year.
In more unsurprising news, Butler’s current team, the Philadelphia 76ers, would really like to make sure he returns to the team next season, with Haynes writing that “the Sixers remain adamant about doing whatever it takes to retain the star.” The Sixers acquired Butler early in the season from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the veteran wing reportedly endeared himself to the organization during his time in Philly.
Butler, 29, was always a top priority for the franchise, but the four-time All-Star further solidified his value to the team in the postseason with his consistent play and veteran leadership, sources said.
A player of Butler’s caliber is certainly going to command a ton of attention on the open market, and Haynes brings word that the Los Angeles Lakers have “genuine interest” in bringing him on board. The Lakers reportedly piqued Butler’s interest last offseason, but apparently, he may not want to play next to LeBron James.
This is purely speculation, but it’s hard to see Butler — who has been vocal about wanting a big payday this summer — leaving Philly if the Sixers offer him a max deal and the chance to play alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons for the foreseeable future. But anything is possible, and we’ll have to wait and see what happens with Jimmy G. Buckets when free agency opens up in a few weeks.