Butler will become a restricted free agent next summer…
The Chicago Bulls failed to agree on a contract extension with Jimmy Butler ahead of the Friday deadline and so he will become a restricted free agent in July.
Butler told the Chicago Tribune ahead of Friday night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers that he had rejected a final offer from the franchise and that his stance on the situation hadn’t changed as he seeks out a better value contract.
According to sources, the Bulls offered a multi-year deal averaging $11m during lengthy discussions in recent weeks but with a failure to agree on terms, Butler will now become a restricted free agent next summer.
“This is where I want to be,” Butler said. “I love my teammates, the fan base, the organization, everybody. I think I still will end up in this city.
“I understand this is a business so I just have to be a great basketball player. I love my odds. I think this team is championship-caliber. I’m going to produce. I’m going to guard. I will take that on myself.”
It is understood that the wide-ranging talks involved trade kickers, player options and shorter-term deals, but with a new TV deal coming and the salary cap expected to rise dramatically, Butler wants to see what his options are in the summer.
In becoming a restricted free agent, the Bulls would have the right to match any offer that Butler receives. However, if he continues on his current trajectory, then he could be a very popular target in the summer and will be the subject of big-money offers which could put the Bulls in a difficult position.
Nevertheless, general manager Gar Forman is confident that they will eventually be able to reach a deal because they control the process. Butler is currently sidelined with a sprained left thumb but he insisted that he is “really close” to making his comeback.