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The Chicago Bulls are reportedly set to offer guard Jimmy Butler a max contract at the end of the season after they failed to agree on an extension last year.
Butler was understood to have turned down an offer of a four-year extension worth $40m ahead of the October 31 deadline, which in turn raised questions as to whether or not the Bulls would keep him.
However, after he has played at an All-Star level so far this season, it is reported that the Bulls are already making their plans to tie him down to a long-term contract when the campaign is over.
The Bulls already have $62,590,142 committed to Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Kirk Hinrich, Doug McDermott, Butler, Tony Snell and Richard Hamilton’s cap hit for next season.
Add four minimum salaries to fill out the roster and Chicago falls just $14,320,754 short of the projected luxury-tax line with Butler’s max salary expected to be around $15,856,500, according to Pro Basketball Talk.
However, David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune has revealed that the Bulls are starting to plan already and they are expected to deal with the luxury tax if they continue to be a championship contender.
“Internally, the Bulls are planning to take a proactive approach to contract negotiations with Butler next July and secure the shooting guard for a long-term spot alongside Derrick Rose,” Haugh wrote.
“They fully expect to sign Butler to a max deal next July before another team even gets involved to tempt him with an offer sheet, which the CBA says they can after the moratorium ends. They accept that the size of Butler’s contract will put the Bulls in position to pay the luxury tax, something Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf says he will do for a championship contender his team is.”
Butler will be a restricted free agent this summer but the Bulls remain in control of negotiations for the time being as they could initially start with an offer of a team-friendly contract.