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Bulls Plan Max Offer For Jimmy Butler

The Bulls fully expect to re-sign Jimmy Butler to a new maximum-salary deal in the summer, and they accept that the contract would put the club in position to pay the luxury tax, reports David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune. Bulls officials are planning a “proactive approach” to have Butler put pen to paper with them before he entertains offers from other clubs in restricted free agency, according to Haugh. Butler will be eligible for a starting salary worth about 25% of next season’s salary cap, unless he wins the MVP and triggers the Derrick Rose Rule, which would allow him about 30% of the cap. The latest league projection indicates that the 25% max will come in at $15.5MM, though that figure won’t be set in stone until July.

Some described the negotiations between Butler and the Bulls this past fall as contentious, according to Haugh, but Butler made it clear in his remarks after passing on an extension offer that reportedly would have entailed $11MM salaries that he’s intent on a long-term future in Chicago. The 25-year-old swingman has since embarked on a career year, but fellow Tribune scribe K.C. Johnson wrote in December that it would be surprising if the Bulls didn’t match any offer that Butler was to receive this summer, seemingly indicating the team’s willingness to pay the max one way or another.

Several executives from around the NBA told Sean Deveney of The Sporting News last month that they believed that Butler would command the max if he kept up his strong start to the season. Butler continues to showcase remarkable gains on the offensive end, averaging 21.7 points per game and 47.8% shooting after putting up 13.1 PPG and 39.7% shooting last season. Butler and agent Happy Walters asked for $14MM a year in extension talks but would have been willing to settle for between $12.5 and $13MM, according to Deveney, so it’s becoming clear that Chicago cost itself when the sides didn’t close a deal.

The former 30th overall pick went from unranked in the first edition of the Hoops Rumors Free Agent Power Rankings, published shortly after the season began, to No. 5 on the latest list, which came out about a month ago. He’s maintained the strong defense that’s long been his hallmark and put up a 22.3 PER that’s the 14th-best mark in the league, according to Basketball-Reference.

Chicago already has nearly $60.2MM in commitments for seven players next season, not counting a player option of almost $2.855MM for Kirk Hinrich. The luxury tax line is projected to come in around $81MM, as Deveney also wrote, so while it seems conceivable that the Bulls could avoid becoming a taxpayer, it would be difficult. The Bulls have been eyeing a lucrative commitment to Butler since the Luol Deng trade a year ago, Haugh writes, noting that the swap helped the team avoid the tax last season and this season, which would have set up Chicago for repeat-offender tax penalties.

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15 thoughts on “Bulls Plan Max Offer For Jimmy Butler

  1. ManBearPig618

    He deserves every penny of it. Looking forward to seeing Jimmy with the Bulls for a long, long time.

    • Trock

      The Bulls have a great core right now. It would be a huge loss to see Jimmy go. Glad they are coming out saying they want to get this done sooner rather then later. In the end, they may have cost themselves a few extra million each year but they weren’t too far off what they will end up paying him with the max.

    • Kevin6CD

      Not trying to lead into my opinion on him, but is there fear among Bulls’ fans that he’s simply having a contract year?

      • ManBearPig618

        I don’t think so, if you look at how he’s grown. He’s developed a pretty consistent ability to get to the line, which is really why his numbers have become what they are this season. He’s also always had a reputation as a down to earth, hardworking guy. This offseason, for instance, he got rid of cable and internet so he could focus solely on improving his game.

        • Kevin6CD

          I’ll believe he’s serious when he cancels his Netflix subscription…That all sounds reasonable, may just be a late bloomer then, talent-wise. Definitely worth keeping around for your title run in the coming years then, even if it is at max money.

          • ManBearPig618

            If he cancels his Netflix subscription, I no longer want him. No sane man gives up Netflix.

      • Wow I LOVE my bulls.. But Dwade is a 3 time hall of famer and was extremely gifted at a young age throughout his whole career.. Jimmy 25 so he would have to pick it up really fast,. I like where jimmy is now

    • Charles Torrence

      I second that my good man

      • Charles Torrence

        Maybe Butler will become the next D.Wade with better D.

        • AceRuby

          He’s honestly gonna end up better then Wade if he keeps up his current pace. Plus he’s much better at shooting the 3 then Wade is which is another plus.

  2. Patris Shirrells

    Jimmy needs to be paid!!!

  3. CrooklynGS9

    Jimmy Buckets !!

  4. Glad Jimmy Butler will be offered max because Bulls contracts don’t run past 2016-17 season except for Doug McDermott’s, Snell’s, and Bairstow’s. The team the Bulls have now should compete for at least 3 years. Bulls got to go for it now because who knows who the Bulls will keep.

  5. Tylerpeppers

    I think he is the mvp

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