But that doesn’t mean the Timberwolves want to let the sometimes combatively competitive Butler opt out and leave next summer.
Marc Stein of The New York Times:
Minnesota could give Butler a four-year extension this summer that starts after next season and pays:
- 2019-20: $22,436,302
- 2020-21: $24,231,206
- 2021-22: $26,026,110
- 2022-23: $27,821,014
That’d be a total of $100,514,631 ($25,128,658 average annual salary).
But if Butler plays out next season and opts out, he could re-sign for a projected $190 million over five years (about $38 million annually). Even if he opts out to leave, he could get a projected $141 million over four years (about $35 million annually) from another team.
And Butler is very good. His current production warrants a huge salary.
But his heavy load under Thibodeau is already taking a toll on his body. He’ll turn 30 before the first season of his next deal.
It takes only one team to pay him, and teams tend to value present over future in free agency. But there’s a real risk in signing him to a full max contract next summer. All teams with cap space might realize that.
For that reason, Butler ought to at least consider signing an extension now.