Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Jimmy Butler is finalizing a five-year, $95 million maximum contract to re-sign with the Chicago Bulls, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Butler’s deal will include a player option after the fourth year of the deal, sources told Yahoo.
Teams pursuing Butler with offer sheet proposals have conceded and moved on, league sources said.
This was always the most likely scenario.
Jimmy Butler emerged to become the Bulls’ best player last season. He was already an above average defender, but he made sizable jumps in his contributions to the offensive end of the floor, and finished the year with averages of 20 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 38.7 minutes per contest.
Butler was recognized for his efforts by making the All-Star team, winning the league’s Most Improved Player award, and being named to the league’s All-Defensive second team. He was a restricted free agent, and the Bulls could have matched any offer he may have received to play somewhere else. But it never came to that point, and with Chicago knowing all along it was never going to let him get away, the team did the smart thing by coming strong with a max contract offer on free agency’s very first day.
The Knicks are expected to be active players in free agency, which officially got going at midnight Eastern time on Wednesday.
New York is getting a formal sit-down with all the big names, and the first one on their list remains the most likely of targets to end up playing in a Knicks uniform next season.
Marc Berman of the New York Post:
A Knicks contingent of Phil Jackson, general manager Steve Mills, coach Derek Fisher and vice president of operations Jamie Matthews descended upon Washington D.C. at midnight Wednesday to meet with Greg Monroe at superagent David Falk’s offices, then was to fly to Los Angeles to meet with Clippers defensive center DeAndre Jordan in the afternoon in making their first bids for a free-agent splash.
Jackson’s crew will then sit down in L.A. with Portland All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge Thursday — the Knicks being the last of seven teams he will greet. Falk, who is close to Jackson, holds all of his free-agent meetings in Washington. Monroe, the former Georgetown star, is considered a favorite to choose the Knicks.
The Knicks, much like the Lakers, can’t afford to hand out two max-level contracts this summer.
Monroe has always been linked to New York, while Jordan and Aldridge remain long shots. But the Knicks are in the largest of markets, and armed with significant cap space for the first time in years, are at the very least getting everyone to listen.
The Hawks won 60 games during the regular season, and ended their most successful season in franchise history with a trip to the Eastern Conference finals.
But all of that wasn’t enough to bring the team back as is for next season.
Paul Millsap is an unrestricted free agent, and is flirting with the Orlando Magic. That may be part of the reason Atlanta traded for Tiago Splitter, but it’s likely unrelated to the team allowing DeMarre Carroll to end up somewhere else.
Sam Amick of USA Today:
Hawks lose DeMarre Carroll to the Toronto Raptors, I’m told, on a four-year, $60-Million deal. DeMarre himself announced via Twitter.
Carroll was the best player for Atlanta on both ends of the floor during the playoffs, and will be a welcome upgrade to a Raptors defense that ranked 23rd in the league in efficiency.
The success of the Hawks last season was seen by a segment of observers as fool’s gold. They won 40 of their first 48 games before cruising to a 20-14 regular season finish, and didn’t look great in the postseason, especially when dropping two games to a sub-.500 Nets team in the first round.
Injuries played a part in their demise, but there was also a sense that teams caught up with them after the hot start, and that the lack of a true superstar could only take them so far. By going in a very different direction in terms of the roster decisions this summer, it’s clear those inside the Hawks organization were feeling the same way.