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Lakers Free Agency: Jimmy Butler wants to sign 1-year contract with the Lakers, Bulls expected to match

The Bulls' prized wing wants to sign with the Lakers, but Chicago has control of his future.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are preparing for a very important free agency period, and Chicago Bulls star wing Jimmy Butler is interested in making a jump to the purple and gold. Butler wants to sign a one-year deal with the Lakers, but the Bulls will match any offer, reports Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.

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Butler's "intrigue" with the Lakers has been increasing over the summer as he's spent his offseason in Los Angeles. The Lakers have a huge hole in their wing rotation and Butler would be a great piece for their young core of D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. Jimmy is one of the best free agents on the market this summer, but as a restricted free agent, what he wants to do has little to do with what his future holds.

Chicago has every reason to match any contract on Butler, maintaining control of arguably their most valuable player and asset. Jimmy was named the NBA's Most Improved Player as he continued to develop into one of the league's best two-way perimeter players.

Should Butler sign an offer sheet with the Lakers, the Bulls would have three days to match the contract. While that decision is "pending" the salary will be reserved and Los Angeles will be left incapable of making alternate maximum-level contract offers. Jimmy may want to move on from his days in Chicago, but it seems like a longshot he finds his way out of a Bulls uniform this summer, via Medina:

Lastly, Chicago forward Jimmy Butler hopes to take his talents elsewhere and take advantage of the new television deal after his career year coincided with Tom Thibodeau's firing and Derrick Rose's chemistry issues. Although Butler wants to sign a one-year deal with the Lakers, according to a league source familiar with his thinking, the Bulls are expected to match any offer for the restricted free agent.

"There is no definitive answer on what each marquee free agent should do," another NBA agent said. "It depends on each player and their set of circumstances."

The Lakers are expected to be big players in free agency but only have the capacity to offer a single maximum-level contract. Butler would be a great use of their salary space, but if the Bulls are absolutely matching -- which they can and likely will -- it may be in the front office's best interest to focus their efforts elsewhere.