PHILADELPHIA _ Jimmy Butler will turn down his 2019-20 player option with the 76ers and hit the free-agent market, according to a report by Yahoo.
This is not a surprising move and was expected by all parties.
Butler will likely be offered multiple max contracts from teams across the league, including the Sixers. It would have been a shocking move for Butler to pick up his option with the Sixers for next season, taking less money than he will be able to draw once the free-agent bidding opens up on June 30.
The Sixers, who can offer Butler a fifth year with their max offer (one more year than other teams can offer him), are hoping they will have enough to sweeten the deal so that Butler remains in Philadelphia rather than heading to Los Angeles to join the Lakers, who are reportedly prepared to offer Butler a lucrative deal.
A proper bidding war can't happen unless there is something to bid for so Butler declining his player option was inevitable.
While expected, the move is the first shoe to drop in what is going to be a whirlwind of an offseason that could be the most important in franchise history.
The next move goes to the Sixers, who will have to maneuver through the June 20 NBA draft before dedicating their time fully to the free-agent frenzy that waits.
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