Jimmy Butler free agency rumors: NBA execs believe 76ers will give forward max contract offer

Could Jimmy Butler stay with the 76ers when free agency begins this offseason? 

Some NBA executives believe that Philadelphia will do everything it can to keep the forward, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, including offering the 29-year-old forward a max contract to stay.

Windhorst said on his “The Hoop Collective” podcast earlier this week:

“I’ve been talking to some executives this week and the executives, I think, now believe that the Sixers will (offer a max contract),” he said. “I don’t know about the fifth year, like, full guaranteed, but yeah.”

The 76ers acquired Butler from the Timberwolves in mid-November in exchange for a package centered around Dario Saric and Robert Covington.

ESPN initially reported after Butler was traded that the goal for both sides was to reach a long-term deal. But as the season went on, there were reports of tension between Butler and coach Brett Brown, leading some to question whether Butler would sign somewhere else in free agency. 

Butler addressed his impending free agency last month, indicating he’s hoping to join a franchise that wants to win.

“Hopefully I’ll get a max contract anywhere I choose to go,” Butler told reporters. “You always want to be able to win, I think that’s key for sure. You’re looking at coaches, you’re looking at the city. There’s a lot that goes into it.

“For me, as long as I got my people with me, they’re happy, they’re smiling and we’re waking up knowing we’re getting to work in an environment where we’re having fun … but I’m a long way away from that,” Butler said. “I’m not too focused on that right now.”

Butler averaged 18.2 points in 55 regular-season appearances for Philadelphia. During the playoffs, he averaged 19.4 points before the 76ers were eliminated by the Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals.