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Rumor: Sixers going to max out Jimmy Butler to try to keep him

Toronto Raptors v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Six

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 09: Jimmy Butler #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on prior to Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Raptors at the Wells Fargo Center on May 9, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Raptors 112-101. 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. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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Jimmy Butler is expecting a max contract — and he’s going to get it.

The financial bar is set for Butler. If Philadelphia wants to keep him — and they should after a playoffs where he had the ball in his hands as the team’s primary playmaker in the halfcourt — they are going to have to pay up. Something other teams expect them to do, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his “The Hoop Collective” podcast (hat tip Sixers Wire):

I’ve been talking to some executives this week and the executives, I think, now believe that the Sixers will. I don’t know about the fifth year, like, full guaranteed, but yeah.

If/when Philadelphia puts that max offer on the table in front of Butler, there are two questions to be answered.

First, will it be for the full five years? Philadelphia can offer Butler a guaranteed fifth year making it a projected $190 million contract, while other teams can offer four years, $141 million. There are teams out there uneasy about giving Butler four fully guaranteed years — he turns 30 before next season, has an injury history, and plays a hard-charging style — let alone a fifth year. Will the Sixers try to get him to take fewer fully guaranteed years than they can offer?

Second, will Butler take it? He will have options, for example, LeBron James is reportedly recruiting Butler to come to the Lakers. Butler may be the Lakers’ best realistic option, and there are reports he would take a max offer from the Lakers (the four-year max).

With those other offers on the table, the Sixers may have no choice but to offer the fifth year and just know they will eventually regret it.