All-NBA forward Jimmy Butler has formally turned down a contract extension offer from the Timberwolves, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, citing team owner Glen Taylor. As Wolfson notes, the four-year deal would have been worth in excess of $100MM. Butler and his camp expressed gratitude to the Wolves for extending such a generous offer, Wolfson adds (via Twitter).
This news doesn’t come as a surprise, and it doesn’t mean that Butler is plotting his exit from Minnesota. We heard earlier this offseason that the Timberwolves intended to offer their All-Star forward a contract extension, but CBA rules limit the team to offering four years and approximately $100MM, as cap expert Albert Nahmad details (via Twitter).
If he waits until 2019 and opts out of his contract, Butler would be eligible for a new five-year contract worth nearly $190MM with the Wolves, based on a $109MM cap projection for 2019/20. If he wants to sign a new four-year deal with another team at that time, it could be worth up to $140MM+, assuming the cap increases to $109MM.
While the Wolves shouldn’t worry too much about Butler opting not to sign an extension at this point, the former Bull isn’t necessarily a lock to stay in Minnesota long term. There have been reports of tension among the Wolves’ three stars – Butler, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns – so the club will have to do everything it can to make sure those three players are on the same page going forward. Wiggins is already on a long-term max contract with the Wolves, and the team is said to be discussing a similar deal with Towns.
There have also been whispers that Butler and Kyrie Irving have interest in teaming up. Irving is in a similar situation to Butler — both players have player options for 2019/20, meaning they’re likely to reach free agency at the same time next summer. Like Butler, Irving is extension-eligible, but has pointed out that it wouldn’t make financial sense for him to sign a new deal before reaching free agency.