Jimmy Butler’s potential extension at center of important Heat offseason. A look at the situation

Now that the Miami Heat’s season is over after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, the attention turns to the important draft, trade and free agency questions that need to be answered this offseason. But one of the biggest questions facing the Heat this summer involves one of the best players on its roster.

Jimmy Butler, who turns 35 on Sept. 14, is expected to seek a maximum two-year contract extension worth about $113 million from the Heat this offseason, according to a league source.

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The three-year, $146.4 million extension that Butler signed with the Heat in the 2021 offseason includes a guaranteed $48.8 million salary for next season and a $52.4 million player option for the 2025-26 season. The extension that Butler will seek would replace his 2025-26 option and begin that season.

This two-year max extension would include salaries of $54.3 million for the 2025-26 season (nearly a $2 million increase from the player option in Butler’s current contract for that season) and $58.6 million for the 2026-2027 season when Butler will be 37 years old. Those numbers could fluctuate based on where the NBA’s salary cap is set for those seasons.

Butler is limited to the maximum of a two-year extension because the over-38 rule does not allow him to sign a new contract that would take him past the next three years, including the one season of guaranteed money remaining on his current deal.

So essentially, Butler will be asking the Heat to replace the two years and $101.2 million remaining on his contract (should he exercise the 2025-26 player option) with a three-year commitment worth $161.7 million.

For perspective on those salary numbers, Butler is set to be the 11th-highest paid player in the NBA next season with a $48.8 million salary under his current contract.

If Butler gets the extension that he will ask the Heat for, he would be the eighth-highest paid player in the league for the 2025-26 season (based on contracts already signed that include the 2025-26 season) with a salary of $54.3 million. Butler would also be the sixth-highest paid player for the 2026-27 season (based on contracts already signed that include the 2026-27 season) with a salary of $58.6 million.

Whether the Heat gives Butler this deal will be decided in the coming months, as the window to sign him to an extension opens July 7. With Butler expected to go for the extension that includes declining his 2025-26 player option and replacing it with a new two-year contract, the window to sign that type of deal doesn’t close until June 30, 2025.

But the expectation is Butler and his camp will push for that extension before the start of the upcoming season. Choosing not to offer this exact extension this offseason could lead to a disgruntled Butler.

One veteran who signed a max extension a few years ago in his 30s is Damian Lillard, who was days away from turning 32 when he signed one with the Portland Trail Blazers in July 2022. LeBron James also signed a max extension with the Los Angeles Lakers in August 2022 when he was 37.

Butler’s Heat co-star Bam Adebayo, who is currently under contract through the 2025-26 season, is also eligible to sign an extension this offseason.

Adebayo, who turns 27 on July 18, is eligible to sign a four-year, $245 million extension this offseason with the Heat if he meets the supermax criteria. He can become eligible for a supermax extension by winning the Defensive Player of the Year award (he’s one of the three finalists for the honor) or by being named to an All-NBA team (first, second or third) this season.

But if Adebayo doesn’t qualify for the supermax, he will instead be eligible for a three-year contract worth $165 million. Any extension Adebayo signs this offseason would begin in the 2026-27 season.

While the Heat and Butler will use this offseason to determine what comes next, Butler’s first five seasons with the organization have been a big success despite not winning an NBA championship.

As the Heat’s best player, Butler has led the Heat to three Eastern Conference finals appearances and two NBA Finals appearances during his five seasons in Miami. However, the Heat came up short of winning a title each time, falling to the Lakers in the 2020 NBA Finals and Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals.

In the process, Butler has been selected as as NBA All-Star twice (2019-2020 and 2021-2022) while with the Heat. He has also been named to the All-NBA second team once (2022-23) and All-NBA third team twice (2019-20 and 2020-21) during his Heat tenure.

Butler, who has already established himself as one of the greatest players in Heat history, is among the Heat’s all-time career regular-season leaders in categories like free throws made (third place), assists (eighth place), steals (ninth place) and triple-doubles (first place).

Butler, who has become known as Playoff Jimmy with the Heat for his postseason excellence, also ranks among the Heat’s all-time career playoff leaders in categories like free throws made (third), total rebounds (seventh), points (third), assists (third), field goals made (third), steals (third), 20-point games (third), 30-point games (third) and 40-point games (first). Butler is also the only Heat player in franchise history to put together a 50-point performance in the playoffs, scoring 56 points in a Game 4 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of last season’s playoffs.

But Playoff Jimmy wasn’t available for the Heat during its short playoff run this year. Butler sprained the MCL in his right knee during a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on April 17 in the NBA’s play-in tournament and missed the Heat’s entire five-game first-round series against the Celtics, which came to end with Wednesday night’s 118-84 blowout loss at TD Garden.

This regular season, Butler averaged 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, five assists and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 49.9 percent from the field, 41.4 percent from three-point range and 85.8 percent from the foul line. He was one of only five players around the NBA this regular season who averaged more than 20 points per game while shooting better than 49 percent from the field, 41 percent on threes and 85 percent from the foul line along with Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns, Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks, Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

But Butler’s production was still down across the board from last regular season, averaging fewer points, rebounds, assists and steals per game this regular season. He also missed 20 or more regular-season games for the third time in the last four seasons because of injuries and other reasons.

Butler has made it clear multiple times that he wants to end his NBA career with the Heat. The negotiations ahead could determine whether Butler gets his wish.