Chicago Bulls' Jimmy Butler made contract gamble which will pay off

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In most cases, turning down money is a stupid thing to do.

 In Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler's case though, it was brilliant.

Butler went to the October 31 contract extension deadline uncertain what would happen with his future. Then, he decided to take his chance.

"It came down to me deciding that I want to bet on myself,” Butler told Yahoo Sports in a text message.

“It was about me believing that I put the work in this summer to become a better player with the hope that my improvement will give the Bulls a better chance to win a championship.”

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Butler has become a star

Over the month since he turned down the Bulls' offer, Butler has taken off.

And, according to the Sporting News, he could be in line for a max contract offer when he becomes a restricted free agent over the summer.

“If you think you have a legitimate shot at him, you would have to come out with a max offer,” one general manager explained.

“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.”

Butler is currently averaging 22.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists while playing 39.8 minutes per game. He's also one of the league's premier perimeter defenders.

“He’s prepared himself well,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau explained recently.

“He continues to work at it. He’s playing with great intensity. He’s studying. He’s preparing. He practices hard. So I’m not surprised. When you practice well you play well, it’s really that simple.”

What's it worth?

Recent reports suggested that the Bulls' final offer was around $11 million over four years while Butler was asking for $14 million and would have accepted $12.5-13 million.

Instead, the Bulls will likely have to pay more now. It it likely that a max deal would be worth around $16.6 million next year and gain him an extra $14 million over the life of the deal.

"All the [rookie extension] deals done so far have shown that teams are building around their stars of the future, and they’re compensating those players as such,” Happy Walters told Yahoo Sports when the deal wasn't done.

“I was under the impression Jimmy was also viewed as one of those future building blocks with the Bulls.

“We tried like heck to get something done, but ultimately, the Bulls wanted a ‘hometown’ discount. While understandable, I doubt their GM or coaches give Mr. Reinsdorf a discount when negotiating their own deals.”

Eastern Conference
Chicago Bulls
Central Division

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