The Philadelphia 76ers’ roster, coming off their loss in the second round of the playoffs, is in a major state of flux. With the exception of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, the majority of the team’s players, including Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and J.J. Redick, are eligible for free agency this summer.
Butler is the most prominent of those free agents and is expected to have suitors throughout the league. One new report says that Philadelphia will be doing all it can to keep the veteran guard/forward.
Per Sixers Wire, which cited an ESPN podcast with Brian Windhorst, word around the league is that the Sixers will offer Butler a maximum contract.
“I’ve been talking to some executives this week and the executives, I think, now believe that the Sixers will [offer the max contract.] I don’t know about the fifth year, like, full guaranteed, but yeah.”
The Sixers offering a max contract doesn’t necessarily mean that Butler will say yes to the offer. But as Butler’s current team, they can offer him more money, as well as an extra year of guaranteed money.
Butler averaged 18.2 points in 55 games after Philadelphia acquired him from Minnesota in a trade last November.
A report last week indicated that Lebron James was attempting to recruit Butler to the Los Angeles Lakers, although doing so prior to the start of free agency would not be legal under the NBA’s tampering rules.
A recent roundup in HoopsHype listed five teams — the Sixers, the Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Indiana Pacers, and the Brooklyn Nets — as potential suitors for Butler. Meanwhile, Caesars Palace odds released last month listed the Sixers as the favorite to keep Butler.
An ESPN report from last year stated that Butler and Irving were plotting to play together once they were free agents, but it’s unclear if such a plan is still in effect, assuming it ever was.
Butler began his career with the Chicago Bulls, developing into a star despite being chosen as the 30th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2017 and helped the team to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. However, Butler had an ugly departure from Minnesota, requesting a trade and ripping his young teammates, and was ultimately sent to Philadelphia for a package centered around Robert Covington and Dario Saric.
Butler, despite some reported chemistry issues early on, proved to be a good fit in Philadelphia, as well as a fan favorite.