Are guys like Jimmy Butler and Paul George worth max contracts?

The Utah Jazz may be wanting to land a major name to play forward for the team but are these two names worth the prices?
Miami Heat v Los Angeles Clippers
Miami Heat v Los Angeles Clippers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages
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When it comes to the offseason for the Utah Jazz, getting talent is a must. The hope is to get some A-grade, game-changing type of talent, like a Devin Booker or heaven-forbid, a Luka Doncic type. Those are mostly pipedreams, though Booker could be possible if Kevin Durant wants out. The Phoenix Suns won’t be likely to trade Booker, and so it’s almost pointless to plan for that possibility.

Yet names like Paul George and Jimmy Butler are far more realistic. George is capable of opting out of his contract this season, and all signs seem to suggest that, while Jimmy Butler is under contract for a few more years but has seemingly burnt his bridges with the aptly named Miami Heat. 

Neither man is young both are in their mid-30s and have seen, to some degree, better days go by. They could each prove to be a valuable short-term option for the Jazz, as both are competent scorers with solid-to-good defensive skills. They’re not horrible players and even if they decline sharply, they’re still going to be better than most of what the Jazz already have around Lauri Markkanen. So there is value there.

But it’s the value of them as players against the value of their contracts that they’re going to want; that’s part of the situation that seems to have a lot of people expressing some concern about them. 

Neither George nor Butler is a max-contract player anymore and by a large margin. They have superstar-caliber names, but their play is barely that of an All-Star. Again, it's an upgrade for the Jazz, but why would you overpay by $20 million or more for a guy who is older, slower, and breaking down more and more?

It doesn’t make sense. 

If both men were willing to come in for $60-$70 million over two or three years, the Jazz should leap at that opportunity. They would benefit greatly from their play and postseason experience, and they wouldn’t have to get saddled with a contract that would eventually cripple their ability to make moves. That’s not them though.

They’re not going to come in on a deal that is worth less than they can make. The Utah Jazz have to avoid getting into that situation. Contracts given out to guys like Kawhi Leonard or Tobias Harris are albatrosses that hinder team movement, and while those players can make an impact to some degree, their play on the court rarely ever offsets the price you’re paying them.

It’s the quickest way to doom your team’s long-term viability.

So while the Utah Jazz would be better with the likes of George and Butler on their team, they have to be mindful of what a long-term contract to an aging, declining star, will ultimately do to them going forward.

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