After a strong 2014-15 NBA season, Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls earned this season’s Most Improved Player award. While the Bulls are currently battling the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Playoffs, Butler is set to become a restricted free agent.
According to Shams Charania of RealGM, the Lakers are expected to be one of several suitors to offer Butler a maximum-salary offer sheet:
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. Even Butler’s college area connection, the Milwaukee Bucks, will have cap space in July. Around the league, there’s a question: How will Chicago handle the inevitable max out of a star player not named Rose?
Throughout the season, the Lakers have been linked to numerous free agents including Butler. The franchise is looking for a two-way wing player and Butler has emerged as one of the best in the league. However, since Butler is a restricted free agent, the Bulls can and will likely match any offers for him this upcoming off-season.
After missing the playoffs for the consecutive season, the Lakers face their most important off-season in nearly a decade. With the cap space to offer one max contract, the Lakers hope to land the next face of their franchise as this will likely be Kobe Bryant’s final season to go along with their young prospects, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.[divide]