Jimmy Butler is having a busy preseason.
About the only thing Butler hasn’t done is sign a contract extension, but he has until Friday to do so.
Jimmy Butler remained confident Friday that he and the Chicago Bulls will work out a contract extension prior to the approaching deadline.
“I think we’re going to figure it out,” Butler said prior to the Bulls’ game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “My main focus is now of all time is to get healthy. If you’re healthy, you’ll get paid anyway. That’s all I’m worried about it.”
Has Butler ever wavered about wanting to be with the Bulls?
“No, no, no, no.This is definitely the city, the team I want to be on,” Butler said. “At the end of the day, at the beginning of the day, I want to be a Chicago Bull for as long as possible.”
Butler is a tough defender, and he can force his way to the basket. The big question is his outside shooting. Butler made 18 percent of his 3s as a rookie, 38 percent in his second season and 28 percent last year.
Likely, the Bulls and Butler are discussing a contract that would be a steal for Chicago if Butler bounces back from beyond the arc and a slight overpay if he doesn’t. This seems like a good time for the Bulls to make an offer on the low end of that range, and if Butler declines, they can see how his 3-point shooting progresses before handling him in restricted free agency next summer.
However, a couple other factors are working in Butler’s favor.
It’s a sellers’ market for wing players. Gordon Hayward just got a max offer sheet, and Chandler Parsons’ was close. There just isn’t much depth at the position league-wide right now.
With the salary cap set to skyrocket under the new national TV contracts, it’s likely Butler – who compares favorably to Parsons and especially Hayward – would have little trouble drawing a big offer sheet next summer.
Counting Kirk Hinrich’s player option and Tony Snell’s team option (which must be decided by Friday), the Bulls already have $63,015,142 committed to eight players for 2015-16. The NBA projects a luxury tax of $80.7 million.
If Butler would accept a number that keeps the Bulls comfortably below the luxury-tax line – even they think it overvalues his on-court production – they might go for it. Better than getting boxed into a corner later and potentially losing Butler next summer.
How does four years and $46 million sound to everyone?