Report: Lakers interested in Jimmy Butler, who will opt out of 76ers contract

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Jimmy Butler expects a max contract – which projects to carry a starting salary of about $33 million – wherever he goes.

So, he darn sure isn’t locking into his $19,841,627 player option.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Philadelphia 76ers forward Jimmy Butler intends to decline his player option — barring an unforeseen change of circumstances — yet the Sixers remain adamant about doing whatever it takes to retain the star, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Los Angeles Lakers have genuine interest in acquiring Butler, sources said.

Like with Kyrie Irving, Butler signed his current deal before new national TV contracts sent the salary cap skyrocketing. That drives the opt out more than any statement on their current teams.

I can imagine only two circumstances that would cause Butler to opt in: He gets hurt in the next couple weeks or he wants to facilitate a trade to a capped-out team, a la Chris Paul to the Rockets. Both are unlikely.

If the 76ers are truly adamant about doing whatever it takes to keep Butler, they’ll offer him a fully guaranteed five-year max contract, which projects be worth about $190 million. And they might.

Butler looks like the Lakers’ most attainable star free agent. They, like other teams outside Philadelphia, can offer a four-year contract that projects to be worth $141 million.

Is Butler worth those huge deals? I love his game, but I’d be terrified paying him long-term considering his age and mileage. Still might do it, anyway, though. He’s that good.