HoopsHype Jimmy Butler rumors

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January 6, 2015 Updates
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"I'm not surprised he's improved," Thibodeau said. "The amount he's improved, I wouldn't be honest if I said I saw it coming. I thought he was capable of scoring more than he did, but playing the way he is, he's playing great. On both sides of the ball, he's an All-Star, and he's making big plays for us." NBA.com

The Bulls didn't give Butler a fourth-year extension in the fall, meaning he'll become a restricted free agent at season's end. Chicago says it has no intentions of letting Butler go, but he's going to cost them a lot more money next summer than he would have in October. He's averaging 22 points a night, shooting 49 percent from the floor, obliterating his previous highs in those categories. He's currently third in the league in Offensive Win Shares, eighth in Defensive Win Shares, according to basketball-reference.com. NBA.com

But Butler spent most of the summer in Houston working with his trainer, Chris Johnson, doing a lot of mid-post work, ball handling and shooting. Mainly, the point was for Butler to see the ball going into the basket as much as possible. "He told me that that part of the game got lost a little bit," Butler said. "That's what Chris kept telling me. He said if you can master that, then you can work your way out from there. He said I was already good at finishing, and he said I'll get that midrange game down, and then you can worry about stepping out to that three." NBA.com

December 22, 2014 Updates
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

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