Windhorst: Jimmy Butler to Get Max Contract Offer from 76ers, Rival Execs Expect

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers' Jimmy Butler reacts during the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 122-100. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly preparing to offer a max deal to Jimmy Butler, who can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason by utilizing a player option in his contract.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported the update Friday on The Hoop Collective podcast (via Ky Carlin of SixersWire) based on conversations with rival executives around the NBA.

"I've been talking to some executives this week and the executives, I think, now believe that the Sixers will [offer a max contract]," he said. "I don't know about the fifth year, like, full guaranteed, but yeah."

Philly acquired Butler in a blockbuster November trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Although Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported after the deal was completed the 76ers and the star forward fully expected to reach an agreement on a long-term deal, the outlook appeared far from set in stone as the season rolled on.

In January, Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported Butler had "aggressively challenged" head coach Brett Brown about his role within the offense alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, including a film session interaction other members of the organization deemed "disrespectful."

Questions about his happiness in Philadelphia led the four-time All-Star's agent, Bernie Lee, to release a statement to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer in early February.

"Jimmy is as committed today as he was the day he got traded here as being a part of a championship team," Lee said. "He looks forward to it being built with him and around him."

Butler averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists across 55 regular-season appearances for the Sixers. The 76ers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Toronto Raptors.

Philly enters the summer with plenty of uncertainty. Tobias Harris and JJ Redick headline the team's other potential free agents, and the front office must decide whether Simmons and Embiid can successfully coexist offensively to create a championship core.

For now, it appears the Sixers will make a major push to keep Butler as one of their building blocks.