Jimmy Butler emerged last season as one of the top two-way wing players in the league, ultimately winning the Most Improved Player of the Year. He has become one of the faces of the Chicago Bulls alongside Derrick Rose and many Chicago fans have gained an infatuation for his game and character off the court. However, despite all the love from the Windy City, Mark Medina of the LA Daily News reported that Butler wants to take his talents elsewhere:
Lastly, Chicago forward Jimmy Butler hopes to take his talents elsewhere and take advantage of the new television deal after his career year coincided with Tom Thibodeau’s firing and Derrick Rose’s chemistry issues. Although Butler wants to sign a one-year deal with the Lakers, according to a league source familiar with his thinking, the Bulls are expected to match any offer for the restricted free agent.
The only thing that may halt Butler’s moves out of Chicago is the simple fact that he is a restricted free agent. This allows the Chicago Bulls to match any offer that is put on the table which makes it hard on any other team to sign him. Since the Bulls are very high on him, it’s unlikely that they will let him out of their grips.
What’s driving this desire to get of Chicago for Butler? It’s been reported that it’s due to the jaded relationship between himself and Bulls star, Derrick Rose.
A league source again acknowledged that one of the issues that has left Butler willing to play hardball with the Bulls in his push to hit the free-agent market sooner than later was because he’s turned off with the idea that it’s “Derrick Rose’s team”.
He’s looking for a short deal instead of a five-year max contract that could allow him to earn more money with the new TV contract coming into effect after next season. This could just be a leverage move to force the Bulls to offer him a short deal as well as opposed to the max term deal. However, Jimmy can’t sign a one-year deal with another team due to a stipulation called the Maximum Qualifying Offer. In these situations, teams must present a normal qualifying offer to any restricted free agent but in some cases, they are allowed to attach what is called the Maximum Qualifying Offer provision.
So in reality, Jimmy Butler can’t receive any deal below three years from any team other than Chicago. His only way out is if the Bulls use the Maximum Qualifying Offer and he takes a one-year, 4.4 million deal. Even though it may not be that appealing to him, he would be an unrestricted free agent following that season; allowing him to sign with anyone he likes, as well as take advantage of that big TV deal.
However, the Chicago Bulls wasted no time and did what everyone expected them to do.
The Chicago Bulls have given Jimmy Butler both a qualifying offer AND a max qualifying offer @BBallInsiders
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) June 29, 2015
The Bulls offered Butler a 5-year, $90 million deal but also presented the max qualifying offer as well. At the end of the day, no other team really has a chance of getting him next season because despite what they put on the table, the Bulls will likely match it. So at this point, it’s all about what deal Jimmy wants to take. Will he take the big contract for max money, or leave $86 million on the table to become an unrestricted free agent next season? Regardless of what he decides, what we do know is that he will most likely be back in a Chicago Bulls Jersey next season.