“And what likely will have Jimmy Butler asking for an extension soon enough, in essence asking for something even beyond Jaylen Brown money,” Winderman wrote.
Butler is under contract with the Miami Heat for the 2023-24 season and the 2024-25 campaign. He also has a player option for north of $52 million in the 2025-26 season.
The six-time All-Star could decide to opt out of that contract to become a free agent and potentially prior to the 2025-26 season. He’d turn 36 years old right before that regular season begins.
Winderman put into perspective just how much Butler could make by breaking down the figures in Brown’s recent deal with Boston.
“The numbers are numbing: $52.4 million in 2024-25, $56.6 million in 2025-26, $60.8 million in 2026-27, $64.9 million in 2027-28 and $69.1 million in 2028-29,” Winderman wrote. “So, yes, the 82-game NBA is on the brink of $1 million per-game salaries.”
Brown – who is much younger than Butler – is getting paid a huge salary, but it could be argued that Butler is currently the better player.
Butler has led the Miami Heat to two NBA Finals appearances and three Eastern Conference Finals appearances in his four seasons with the team, and he’s done it without a second star of the caliber of Jayson Tatum – who Brown has alongside him in Boston.
During the 2022-23 season, Butler averaged 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while shooting 53.9 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc.
A terrific two-way player, Butler has been instrumental in Miami’s success since he joined the franchise.
The Heat could be in a tricky spot if Butler decides to opt out of his deal in a few seasons and command a Brown-like deal, especially since he’d be much older than the Celtics star is now. The Heat wouldn’t want to hurt their long-term future by committing to a deal with Butler while he’s on the decline.
For now, Miami doesn’t have to worry about that issue, as it has at least two more seasons with Butler under contract. The team’s goal, and Butler’s, should be to chase a title in these next two seasons before worrying about what his new deal may or may not look like.