Jimmy Butler bet on himself once already, and it appears he's set to do it again. The All-Star wing plans on rejecting a five-year, $90 million max contract offer from the Chicago Bulls in favor of a shorter deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. While the Bulls will have the right to match any contract Butler is offered, signing a shorter deal would mean he could become a free agent again in the summer of 2017 when the salary cap is set to explode.
Teams hoping to pursue Butler reportedly believe a short-term deal is the "wisest way" to approach his free agency. Wojnarowski reports Butler is intrigued by the possibility of signing an offer sheet with the Los Angeles Lakers after spending the summer living in L.A.
Should Butler sign an offer sheet for a two-year contract, he could potentially earn as much as $190 million over five years when he becomes a free agent again following the 2016-17 season if the salary cap jumps as much as it's expected to.
Butler's most lucrative option could be to sign a three-year, $50 million extension this offseason with a player option for the final year and a significant trade kicker. Wojnarowski reports the Bulls have to sell Butler on the team's future with Fred Hoiberg and says Butler and point guard Derrick Rose "need to come to a greater understanding about how to best co-exist on the floor."
The Bulls will only lose Butler this offseason if they decide not to match an offer sheet. Before the 2014-15 season, Butler turned down an extension believed to be worth more than $10 million annually for four years. He used his impending free agency as motivation to turn in the best year of his career, becoming an All-Star at age 25 and raising his scoring average from 13 points per game to 20 points per game.
Butler was the last pick of the first round in 2011. He won the NBA's Most Improved Player award this season and has been voted second team All-Defense each of the past two seasons.