By Tommy Matthews

Jimmy Butler is 35 and his skills are diminishing.

But the Sixers may have to settle for him this offseason.

Paul George is the Sixers’ primary focus if the Clippers forward declines his $48.8 million option in order to enter free agency.

A reunion with Butler could be a viable alternative and Keith Pompey of the Inky reports the Sixers are prepared to give Butler a maximum-salary extension if he forces a trade out of Miami.

There has been speculation about Butler’s future since the Heat were eliminated from postseason contention. Butler, who will be 35 next season, has a $48.8 million salary for next season.

Butler is seeking a two-year maximum extension for $113 million,

Miami president Pat Riley indicated during his annual postseason press conference he’d be reluctant to make that commitment, noting that Butler has missed chunks of time in recent seasons.

“It’s a big decision on our part to commit those kinds of resources, unless you have someone who is going to be available every night,” Riley said.

Butler hasn’t appeared in more than 64 regular season games in any of his five years in Miami and was unavailable for the playoffs this spring due to an MCL sprain.

Butler stated in a GQ interview his preference is to finish his career with Miami.

“I feel at home, man. I really care about the city, I really care about the people in this city,” Butler said.

“Miami has embraced me.”

There’s no indication that the Heat have any plans to trade Butler unless he forces the issue. Beyond that, the Sixers — seeking another star to join forces with Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey — would seemingly have to strike out on the George front before turning to other options.

The Sixers do feel they erred by shipping Butler to Miami in a sign-and-trade five years ago and could make amends by slotting him into one of their forward spots.

The Sixers have also been linked to the Lakers’ LeBron James and Knicks’ OG Anunoby in free agency. Bulls wing Zach LaVine and the Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram could emerge as potential trade targets if they must go further down the wish list.

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