HoopsHype Jimmy Butler rumors

December 19, 2014 Updates

“I don’t want be a star,” Butler was saying in answer to a question after the Bulls struggling 103-97 victory Thursday over the New York Knicks. “I just want to be a decent role player on a really good team. Whatever my team needs: If that’s scoring, rebounding, passing the ball or just playing defense, that’s my job on this team. Those guys are always looking for me to be successful. Whenever you have teammates like that who have confidence in you, it’s very easy to have confidence in yourself. Bulls.com

“I think I’m Ok at scoring right now,” said Butler. “They give me the ball in incredible position and make it really easy for me; they’re good at driving and kicking and finding me to where I really don’t have to do too much. That’s what great teammates are all about. They see I’m in a rhythm and continue to do that for me. I’ve never been the best player on my team, never probably will be. But I’ve always been a hard worker, a guy who doesn’t give up on himself, who has the most confidence in himself. Now I play for the Chicago Bulls.” Bulls.com

December 9, 2014 Updates
December 3, 2014 Updates

That’s where Butler’s bet on himself came in. There have been some reports on the negotiations between Butler and the Bulls, but according to Sporting News sources, the Bulls’ offer went as high as $11 million per year for four years. Butler was asking for $14 million per year, but would have been willing to negotiate downward to the $12.5-$13 million range. Sporting News

If Butler continues on this current track, several league executives agree he will warrant a max-contract offer next summer. That’s based not only on Butler’s numbers, but his top-tier defensive ability, his age (25) and the fact that nearly half the league will have significant cap space available. “If you think you have a legitimate shot at him, you would have to come out with a max offer,” one general manager said. “That’s the only way you’d have a chance of prying him out of Chicago, and there are a few teams that would be willing to try, sort of like what Charlotte tried with (Gordon) Hayward last summer. (Utah matched the Hornets’ max offer.) I think he stays in Chicago, but it is going to be expensive for them.” Sporting News

November 30, 2014 Updates
November 28, 2014 Updates

According to a source, Butler turned down a four-year, $40 million-plus offer from the Bulls. After watching Klay Thompson get the max four-year, $70 million contract from the Warriors, Butler was willing to test the market as a restricted free agent and force the Bulls to make the tough decision. Chicago Sun-Times

November 26, 2014 Updates

"He's been incredible," said Thibodeau, whose Bulls lost 114-109 to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. "He's a star, and he does it on both ends of the floor. He's just an amazing player. We've had him play the point, we've had him play the 2, the 3, and tonight he played the 4. And he hasn't had any opportunity to practice the 4. So he just got out there, he's smart, he's tough, he does whatever the team needs, and he found a way to help lead us into coming back and having a shot at the end." ESPN.com

Although the 25-year-old continues to put up All-Star-type numbers, he doesn't want any part of the star label. "I'm not a star," Butler said. "I'm a good role player on a really, really good team. A really, really deep team. I like role players. 'Star' has never been next to Jimmy Butler's name, it never will be. I'll always be just an under-the-radar dog." ESPN.com

November 25, 2014 Updates

Butler, 25, is earning $2 million in the fourth year of his rookie contract. Back in October, he declined a rookie-extension offer worth at least $40 million over four years. He delayed his eight-figure gratification even though he spent years in high school without a permanent home, making due on a day-to-day, hand-to-mouth, couch-to-couch basis. Butler admits that it was “hard” to pass on the extension and jokes that his first reaction, when presented with the offer's terms, was: “Bet! We’re good!” Upon further reflection, and advice from his agent Happy Walters, Butler decided to play out this season and test his earning potential next summer, when he will become a restricted free agent. Sports Illustrated

“The world knows I love Chicago. This is where I want to be,” Butler said. “I think this is where I’m going to be. After last year, everyone was like, ‘He’s not this. He’s not that.’ I knew better. I wanted to prove to myself that last year wasn’t me.” Sports Illustrated

Asked if he has heard the growing social media buzz that that he might receive a max-type contract offer next summer, a la Klay Thompson, Butler nods and accepts the idea as both a challenge and an opportunity. “Why not have a [max contract] be a goal? When I hear ‘max player’ I just think about being able to take my family to Bora Bora or something, going on a nice vacation. Because I don’t really pay attention to the money,” Butler said. “I just love the game of basketball. As long as I’m happy and it’s my job, I’m good. Money has never been too much of a thing for me. I grew up without it. I can manage with the amount of money I have now.” Sports Illustrated

November 23, 2014 Updates

As for Butler's mindset after not getting an extension deal done with the Bulls, he shook his head when asked if there's any lingering resentment. "Nah, nah," said Butler, who will be a restricted free agent next summer. "I love the city of Chicago. I think everybody knows that. I just feel like I've just got to help win games, man. I want a championship. The money has never been an issue because I'm from Tomball. The money I make now is more than nothing. I just wanted to prove to my teammates, to my coaches, to the city, that I'm here to stay." USA Today Sports

November 18, 2014 Updates
November 16, 2014 Updates

But Butler's decision to get to the rim more is backed up in the numbers. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Butler came into Saturday's game averaging 5.7 field goal attempts inside 10 feet this season, out of 12.4 attempts total. Last season, over his first nine games, it was 2.8 field goal attempts inside 10 feet out of 7.6 attempts total. So what has changed? Butler's teammate Taj Gibson has his own idea. Like many inside the organization, Gibson believes it has a lot to do with Butler finding his confidence again. "He got away from just being around the practice facility here," Gibson said. "He got away from Chicago for a while, got a chance to really go home, be around family, work on his game. Sometimes those things are the key to help a player really get his mind right, help his game grow, and that's exactly how he's playing right now. He worked out on his game all summer, got away and came back with a new mentality, focused. ESPN.com

November 9, 2014 Updates
November 8, 2014 Updates
November 5, 2014 Updates

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