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May 28, 2024

NBA rumors: Sixers willing to offer Jimmy Butler maximum contract extension

Jimmy Butler's future in Miami appears clouded. Could a return to Philadelphia be in the cards?

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Butler Embiid 5.28.24 Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Could Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler reunite in Philadelphia for the 2024-25 NBA season and beyond?

As the Sixers prepare for their well-documented pursuit of a third star-caliber player to put next to All-Stars Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, perhaps an old friend-turned-rival could be in play.

After Jimmy Butler succumbed to injury early in the Miami Heat's Play-In Tournament loss to the Sixers in Philadelphia last month, he missed the entirety of the team's first-round series against the Boston Celtics -- a series in which the Heat were swiftly defeated.

Since then, Heat President Pat Riley has made a few pointed comments about Butler regarding his infamous trash talk and the durability issues he has had in recent seasons. With Butler eligible for a contract extension this summer and it being unclear if Riley and his front office are willing to offer one, rumors have started swirling about if Butler, a six-time All-Star in his own right, could be acquired via trade.

Given Butler's well-documented friendship with Embiid, the Sixers' aforementioned pursuit of another star-level talent and Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey's frequent attempts to acquire Butler in the past, the natural inclination is to assume the Sixers would have plenty of interest in bringing Butler back to Philadelphia after he spent just a handful of months with the team during the 2018-19 season before the team agreed to sign-and-trade him to Miami.

According to a report from Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, not only do the Sixers have interest in acquiring Butler, but would also be willing to offer him a contract extension after doing so.

"It's not secret that the 76ers are closely monitoring Jimmy Butler's contract situation with the Miami Heat," Pompey writes. "And, according to sources, the Sixers are prepared to give Butler a maximum-salary extension if things align and he forces a trade out of Miami."

It remains difficult to imagine Butler in a uniform other than Miami's anytime soon. But if the relationship between Butler and Riley continues to deteriorate, the Sixers could attempt to pry him away.

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