Sixers Willing To Extend Butler If Heat Star Becomes Available In Trade

Jimmy Butler may not be the Sixers’ top target this offseason but they’re apparently willing to give him more financial security than the Heat.

Paul George is widely considered the Sixers’ primary focus if the Clippers forward declines his $48.8MM option in order to enter free agency. A reunion with Butler could be a viable alternative and Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports the Sixers are prepared to give Butler a maximum-salary extension if he forces a trade out of Miami.

There has been speculation about Butler’s future since the Heat were eliminated from postseason contention. Butler, who will be 35 next season, has a $48.8MM salary for next season and a player option for $52.2MM for the 2025/26 season.

Butler is seeking a two-year maximum extension for $113MM in which he’d decline the $52.2MM option in order to get an extra year of guaranteed salary. Miami president Pat Riley indicated during his annual postseason press conference he’d be reluctant to make that commitment, noting that Butler has missed chunks of time in recent seasons.

“It’s a big decision on our part to commit those kinds of resources, unless you have someone who is going to be available every night,” Riley said.

Butler hasn’t appeared in more than 64 regular season games in any of his five years in Miami and was unavailable for the playoffs this spring due to an MCL sprain.

Butler stated in a GQ interview his preference is to finish his career with Miami.

 “I feel at home, man. I really care about the city, I really care about the people in this city,” Butler said. “Miami has embraced me.”

There’s no indication that the Heat have any plans to trade Butler unless he forces the issue. Beyond that, the Sixers — seeking another star to join forces with Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey — would seemingly have to strike out on the George front before turning to other options.

The Sixers do feel they erred by shipping Butler to Miami in a sign-and-trade five years ago and could make amends by slotting him into one of their forward spots.

Philadelphia is in the rare position of being a playoff contender with the ability to absorb a huge salary. The Sixers could have close to $65MM in cap space this summer and they’ll also have five first-round picks and multiple pick swaps available to trade, beginning at the start of the draft, Pompey notes.

The Sixers have also been linked to the Lakers’ LeBron James and Knicks’ OG Anunoby in free agency. Bulls wing Zach LaVine and the Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram could emerge as potential trade targets if they must go further down the wish list.

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