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Chicago Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler has insisted that he wants to remain with the franchise long-term as talks continue over a contract extension.
With the Bulls bringing in the likes of Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott this off-season, the franchise has been busy adding depth and constructing a roster capable of competing for a championship.
However, one of the main talking points that general manager Gar Forman was questioned on during media day on Monday, was whether or not they were close to signing an extension with Butler.
Particularly since Luol Deng left the franchise, Butler has played an integral role for coach Tom Thibodeau and is seen as a vital piece of the team moving forward not only given his tireless effort on the defensive end, but also with his ability to shoot from the perimeter.
However, if a deal isn’t reached by October 31, he will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season which would see the Bulls risk losing him.
“I want to be here,” Butler said. “I think the Bulls want me here. So however long it takes, as long as we get it worked out. Basketball is my main focus, not really the contract situation.”
“They definitely are [working on it],” he said. “I think we’re really good right now, moving in the right direction. But that’s between them. I just got to be with my teammates and whatever I do between myself and that basket will handle that a lot easier.”
Butler was selected with the 30th overall pick by the Bulls in the 2011 Draft out of Marquette, and while team-mate Derrick Rose conceded that he didn’t even realise that he was up for an extension, he insisted that he couldn’t tell given the way that Butler has been practising.
The 25-year-old insisted that he grew up without money so he can handle waiting for a few more days, but while he claims that he will just focus on playing basketball, he is ultimately anxious as he hopes to continue with the Bulls for years to come.