All eyes remain trained on Kyle Lowry’s future as the NBA’s free-agency period readies to open at 6 p.m. ET on Monday. Word around the league, at this juncture, is clearly pointing toward the All-Star guard joining Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat via a sign-and-trade with Toronto. The Heat are also expected to sign Butler to a lucrative contract extension, sources told B/R.
Miami has Butler locked in for next season before he has a $37,653,300 player option for 2022-23. This offseason, he will become eligible for a max contract extension projected to be worth about $182 million over four years (including replacing his player-option year with an approximately $41 million salary). That’d be a lot to pay Butler – who has heavy mileage – for his age-33-36 seasons. But Butler is also darned good and has quickly become nearly essential to the Heat.
Does Butler expect Miami to offer that max extension? “I think me and the Heat have an understanding,” Butler said. “I think we have a mutual respect for what each one of us can do for each other. But we’ll see whenever that time gets here. I know I have a job to do, and that’s to win us a championship along with my teammates. So, when the time comes, you’ll know. “I don’t do anything for money. I don’t. It’s all about how somebody values you.”
There were reports of friction between Butler, Towns and Wiggins, but sources say that is not the main reason Butler has decided to move on. Butler was hoping for a renegotiation and extension of his contract this summer, one that would have raised his salary for 2018-19 to $30 million and added another four years and $145 million on to that. But the Timberwolves would have had to cut an enormous amount of salary to pull that off and deemed it unreasonable if they wanted to stay competitive in the near term.
With that off the table, the Wolves offered a four-year, $110 million extension, which was the highest they could go under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement. Butler could get a new five-year deal worth $188 million from the Wolves next summer, so he turned that offer down.
Darren Wolfson: #Twolves All-Star Jimmy Butler has officially turned down the Wolves' 4-year, $110M range extension offer, per owner Glen Taylor. Full interview posting soon, which includes stuff on KAT extension talks, Thibs, filling out the roster, and #LosLynx.
Nick Friedell: Thibs on where things stand between T'Wolves and Butler for potential extension: "We know how important Jimmy is to the team. But we don't talk about contract negotiations or anything like that so just get ready for the season."
Albert Nahmad: Jimmy Butler’s $20.4M cap hit for 2018-19 contains both a $1.1M signing bonus allocation and a $604K trade bonus allocation. An extension offer would start at 120% of his $18.7M base salary, and kick in for 2019-20: $22.4M, $24.2M, $26.0M, $27.8M. Total: 4 new years, $100.5M.
Marc Stein: The Timberwolves began free agency by informing star guard Jimmy Butler that they intend to offer him a maximum contract extension valued in the four-year, $110 million range as soon as he's eligible to sign the deal on July 9, league sources say
If Butler signs an extension, it likely will be next summer, when he can become a free agent and sign to stay with the Wolves for considerably more than any other team can pay him. If … “Every day we work at it,” Thibodeau said Thursday. “We know how important he is and we feel he’s one of the best players in the league. So how you manage that on a daily basis is important. I think our communication with him is important.”
Thibodeau made it clear Monday the Wolves’ culture change starts with Butler. He can sign this summer an extension to stay in Minnesota through 2023 before he can opt out of his current contract in summer 2019. “At an appropriate time, we’ll talk to him,” Thibodeau said. “What he did for our organization, we certainly know how important he is and so every day our communication with him is critical. It’s important for him to feel good about everything that we’re doing here.”
In a provision intended to help teams keep their best players, the NBA’s current labor agreement allows the Wolves this summer to negotiate a contract extension with Butler before he can opt out of his contract and become a free agent in summer 2019.
“Jimmy brings a personality and a skill set that is different from some of our other players,” Taylor said. “At least at this point, they don’t have the experience that he has. We found that very helpful to our team this year. He’s a very important part of our future. I’m not sure what they’re thinking and our thinking is. That’s something that will develop as we get into the summer and start talking to Jimmy and his agent.”
September 18, 2021 | 9:28 pm EDT Update
The Houston Rockets have waived forward Tyler Bey. This waiver was necessary to create the roster spot for Houston to re-sign Dante Exum. The Rockets signed Bey to a fully non-guaranteed training camp contract in late-August.
September 18, 2021 | 5:41 pm EDT Update
You’re here for at least the next five years now that you’ve signed an extension. Do you allow yourself to think – or dream – about what might come over that time span since you’ve talked openly about wanting to win a title in New York? Have you allowed yourself to think about how things might progress? Julius Randle: Obviously, it’s a process. Everything is a process. We’ve been building this from the ground up. But for me, personally, that is the expectation (winning a title in New York). That’s what I want to happen within that time frame. There’s a lot of things, factors that go into that. So obviously you’ve got to weigh that stuff in.
Julius Randle: But as far as myself, I know Thibs (Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau) is thinking (it as well), it’s just win at all costs. For me personally, that’s just how I prepare myself. I prepare myself to compete at the highest level of our game. Like I said, there’s a lot of factors (that go into winning an NBA title). But I trust Leon (Knicks president Leon Rose), I trust Thibs, Wes (Knicks vice president William Wesley), our coaches, Scott (Knicks GM Scott Perry) – all these guys, I trust. That was part of my process in thinking of signing the extension and that’s my goal, that’s our goal as a team and the guys that are around us. We want to be able to say that we won a championship here in New York. I don’t think there’s any better feeling than that.
Did you guys see the video clip of Trae Young at the Garden with WWE? Do you care about that stuff? Julius Randle: Yeah I see it. But honestly, I don’t care. Obviously, that’s (for) entertainment purposes and all that (stuff), so I let people enjoy it. For me, honestly, I don’t care. I honestly didn’t even watch it. Knicks fans, they’re going to make a big deal out of it – they didn’t like it (laughs). But it’s all fun and games and hopefully they enjoyed it.
September 18, 2021 | 12:10 pm EDT Update
The Rockets have officially re-signed guard Dante Exum and waived Tyler Bey to create a roster space for him, according to the NBA’s transactions log. Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw was the first to report the Bey transaction (Twitter link). With John Wall not expected to play for the team this season as it seeks to trade him, the Rockets were in the market for another point guard. The Rockets’ interest in Exum surfaced on Tuesday.
When the Timberwolves traded up to get Leandro Bolmaro last November in the 2020 NBA Draft (yes, it was less than a year ago… it still feels weird), the question was would it be a year or two before Bolmaro came over from Barcelona to play in the NBA. The answer is one. Minnesota reached a deal and Bolmaro will be with the Timberwolves in training camp, the team announced Saturday. This is not a surprise; he was expected to come over this season. He will be playing on a rookie scale contract.