It’s not about the money for Jimmy Butler.
Only because he’s going to get the money no matter what he decides.
Butler is an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Philadelphia 76ers traded for him, have his Bird rights and want to keep him — especially after a playoffs where he had the ball in his hands as the team’s primary playmaker in the halfcourt. The Sixers have said they plan to max him out to retain him, but when asked about the money Butler said this:
“Technically I think, knock on wood, I will get a max contract anywhere I choose to go. So if you are talking a four-year, five-year, that is more than enough money anyway. I think I still have more than enough money now from my first deal.”
Butler is right, he is a lock max player, even if teams are a little queasy about giving a guy who turns 30 before next season, and who has an injury history, a four- or five-year contract. Philadelphia can offer Butler larger raises and a guaranteed fifth year, which projects to be five-years, $190 million. Other teams can offer four years, slightly smaller raises, which would work out to four-years, $141 million. Butler has already earned about $78 million is salary alone through his career (plus endorsement money).
Multiple agents of top players have said in recent years that the figures for max contracts have gotten so high that the extra money a team with Bird rights can offer to keep a player doesn’t have the same impact anymore. In Butler’s case, even if he took the shorter deal somewhere other than Philadelphia, he will made nearly $220 million by the end of the contract. In salary alone. With that much money in the bank, working environment matters a lot.
Butler seemed to find a home and a comfort level on the court with the Sixers.
However, he said he would sit down with his team — agent, trainers, advisors — and hash out what they all really want soon, and go from there. That may well be Philadelphia after the high of that playoff run and the potential for the future it showed, but Butler will have max offers literally from Los Angeles to New York and plenty of places in between. He will have options to consider.
Money may be the least of his concerns when making that call.