Lakers Expected To Pursue Jimmy Butler

The Lakers are expected to be one of several teams preparing a maximum salary offer sheet for Bulls guard Jimmy Butler, Shams Charania of RealGM reports. Chicago reportedly intends to match any offer sheet that he signs, but Charania notes that teams around the league are questioning how Chicago will handle the inevitable max contract for another star player given their pricey commitment to Derrick Rose.

Los Angeles only has slightly under $35.1MM in guaranteed contracts on the books for the 2015/16 season, as our Salary Commitment page shows, against a projected salary cap of $67.1MM. That figure only includes contracts for four players and does not include the non-guaranteed contracts of Tarik Black, Robert Sacre and Jordan Clarkson, which together only total roughly $2.7MM. If the Lakers keep all three on the roster, which I speculate they will, the team could still have enough cap room to sign one player to a maximum contract and another player, perhaps Rajon Rondo, to a mid-sized contract.

Butler, who won this season’s Most Improved Player award, averaged 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds in 38.7 minutes per game. The guard led his team in minutes per contest and no other Bulls player under the age of 29 played more than 30 minutes per game. Chicago has an aging roster and even with nearly $60.2MM in commitments for next season, the team should look to retain the 25-year-old regardless of cost.

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