Here’s what Jimmy Butler could get on massive contract extension

Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
NBA Analysis Network

After a surprising run to the NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble last season, the Miami Heat were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks this year. Jimmy Butler struggled during the series, shooting less than 30 percent from the floor (19-for-64) as the Heat shot less than 40 percent as a team. During the regular season, Butler averaged 21.5 points per game with career-highs in assists (7.1) and rebounds (6.9) per game.

Butler has two years left on his contract, with the second year as as a $37.65 million player option for 2022-23. But with 10 years of NBA experience now, Butler is eligible for a four-year max contract extension this offseason. According to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, Butler is likely to seek that max deal.

Jimmy Butler is one of just five players on the Miami Heat’s season-ending roster who have guaranteed contracts for 2021-22, but there’s an important discussion for Butler and the Heat to have this offseason regarding their future together,” Chiang wrote.

That’s because although Butler is under contract through 2022-23, he’s eligible for an extension from the Heat this offseason. The expectation is that Butler, who turns 32 in September, will likely seek a maximum four-year extension worth $181 million.

The four-year, $141 million contract that Butler signed to join the Heat during free agency in 2019 includes a guaranteed $36 million salary for next season and a $37.7 million player option in 2022-23. An extension would replace his 2022-23 option and begin that season.

What would Jimmy Butler’s max deal exactly look like?

Butler would trade his player option for a salary that could be north of $40 million in 2022-23, with two more years of security beyond that. The new deal could start at 35 percent of the salary cap for 2022-23, which would project to be $115.8 million based on a three percent hike from 2021-22’s projected cap. So here’s what that four-year, $181 million deal could look like each year for Butler, through his age-36 season.

The Heat could offer Butler less than the full max, but league rules stipulate an extension must start at least at his option figure of $37.6 million. So there’s about $3 million to work within there, as much as that would be worth quibbling over at the numbers we’re talking. Offering Butler less than the full max is also a path to making him into a disgruntled player, which he’s always only a step or two from becoming anyway.

Pat Riley has consistently been an executive who’s keenly aware of player relationships, with very few mistakes (Dwyane Wade is one situation Riley has said he regrets). So low-balling Butler, especially over a relative drop in the bucket when he can make $37.6 or $40.5 million in the first year of a max deal, is highly unlikely.

READ More: One perfect offseason trade target for the Miami Heat

The issue in giving Butler a four-year max to start in 2022-23 is the final couple years of the deal, and the $97.3 million that could be due to him over those years. As Butler’s athleticism erodes, he doesn’t shoot or make 3-pointers at good enough clips to offset that loss of explosiveness. His offensive game is sure to age poorly, and the blunt force of will he possesses won’t make a difference.

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