The biggest storyline this offseason for the Chicago Bulls will be Jimmy Butler and what the shooting guard will do. Butler will be a restricted free agent and will be one of the top targets for a few teams this offseason.
A report surfaced during the season that the Bulls would match any offer Butler receives from a team, allowing them to offer him a max offer. But on Tuesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Butler could seek a shorter deal and then become a unrestricted free agent after the 2017 season:
Unless Bulls officials bring Butler a shorter-term deal that’s more favorable to his long-term earning power, they’ll likely be waiting to match an offer sheet, league sources said.
Butler could sign a three-year offer sheet that guarantees him $50 million, but allows for a player option on the third year that could allow him to move into unrestricted free agency and re-sign for a five-year, maximum deal worth as much as $190 million. It is understandable why Chicago wants Butler locked into a five-year, $90 million max extension under the current salary structure, but that appears to be a deal Butler plans to pass on.
Enter the Los Angeles Lakers who Wojnarowski mentions in the article as one of the favorites to land Butler. There has been speculation that the Lakers could land Butler, who is working out this offseason in Los Angeles and hanging out with pal Mark Wahlberg.
The Bulls are expected to offer Butler a deal around five-years, $90 million on July 1 but the guard could play it smart and become an unrestricted free agent in 2017 as the salary cap is expected to take on a major increase before the 2016-17 season.
Butler averaged 20 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game last year while making the NBA’s Eastern Conference All-Star team.