Jimmy Butler turns down Bulls’ extension offer, will hit restricted free agency

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Jimmy Butler will be a restricted free agent next summer. The Chicago Bulls shooting guard told Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski that he had rejected an offer from the team:

“It came down to me deciding that I want to bet on myself,” Butler told Yahoo Sports in a text message on Friday. “It was about me believing that I put the work in this summer to become a better player with the hope that my improvement will give the Bulls a better chance to win a championship.”

Butler’s agent, Happy Walters, also had harsh words for the Bulls about the lack of an agreement:

“All the [rookie extension] deals done so far have shown that teams are building around their stars of the future, and they’re compensating those players as such,” Walters told Yahoo Sports on Friday. “I was under the impression Jimmy was also viewed as one of those future building blocks with the Bulls.

“We tried like heck to get something done, but ultimately, the Bulls wanted a ‘hometown’ discount. While understandable, I doubt their GM or coaches give Mr. Reinsdorf a discount when negotiating their own deals.”

Walters has a point. Earlier on Friday, the Warriors reached a four-year, $70 million agreement with Klay Thompson. This summer, the Phoenix Suns signed Eric Bledsoe to a five-year, $70 million deal and the Jazz matched an offer sheet from the Hornets that will pay Gordon Hayward $64 million over four years.

When Butler hits the open market, he’s going to get an offer at least in that range. He’s an elite perimeter defender with a lot of untapped offensive potential. The Bulls may match any offer, but it’s going to cost them.