The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly preparing to offer Chicago Bulls star guard Jimmy Butler a max contract when he becomes a free agent this summer.
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Butler has had a memorable season this year which has included his first All-Star appearance and being named the NBA’s Most Improved Player for 2015.
The 25-year-old has developed his offensive game in the last two years to match up with his superior defensive skills to establish himself as one of the best two-way guards in the league, and he is averaging over 20 points per game in the post-season.
As a result, given that he is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, it will come as no surprise that several teams around the league will be paying attention to his situation.
Naturally, the expectation is that he will remain in Chicago and he has made no secret of his desire to do so, but what if the Lakers are about to come calling?
“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.
Butler is going to get a max contract, but the question remains as to whether he immediately signs with the Bulls, or the franchise is forced to match the offer from someone else.
Given that he is a restricted free agent it is unlikely that something happens which sees him leave, and so this is arguably more of a publicity stunt for the Lakers to make some noise and to keep their fans happy knowing that they are chasing the top names in the league.
It will be a crucial summer for the Lakers as they attempt to rebuild around Kobe Bryant in his last year in the league, but it probably won’t be Butler playing alongside him as they shouldn’t waste their time on him while possibly missing out on other targets in the process.