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Report: Lakers preparing to offer Jimmy Butler max contract

Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls shoots against the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES Center on January 29, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Andrew D. Bernstein

Jimmy Butler made the All-Star Game, won Most Improved Player and will soon have another symbol of his status as a top-shelf player:

A max contract.

The only question is how Butler, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, will get it.

Will he sign directly with the Bulls or sign an offer sheet the Bulls will match?

Shams Charania of RealGM:

Outside of Chicago, teams are already preparing possible maximum-salary offer sheets for Butler in free agency, including the Los Angeles Lakers as one of several expected suitors, league sources told RealGM.

For their sake, I hope the Lakers have a backup plan

Butler wants to stay in Chicago, and the Bulls want to keep him. Something could go wrong if he were an unrestricted free agent, but because he’s restricted, it’s nearly impossible to see him getting away.

If the Lakers sign him to an offer sheet, they’d almost certainly just be tying up their cap space for a few days until the Bulls match – all while other free agents sign elsewhere.

There have been numerous reports of trades the Lakers tried to make or players they’ll try to add. It seems they’re trying to satisfy a disgruntled fan base by leaking these grand plans. But at a certain point, they have to actually add talent rather than just talk about it.

It won’t be Butler, though.