Restricted free agent Jimmy Butler has agreed to a five-year, $95 million contract with the Chicago Bulls, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Butler's deal will have an opt-out after the fourth season.
Butler's decision to sign a long-term deal comes after initial reports said he only seeking a short-term deal that would make him an unrestricted free agent in a few years when the salary cap exploded. But the Bulls made it difficult for Butler to get that contract without sacrificing a lot of money, so Butler settled for the fourth-year player option.
Butler bet on himself last offseason when he and the Bulls couldn't come to terms on a contract extension, and he won big thanks to massive improvement that earned himself max money. Once it was apparent he deserved the max, Chicago made it clear it would match any offer and would be proactive in offering a five-year max deal.
Butler never gave any indication of wanting to go elsewhere, although a report surfaced shortly before free agency stating that he wanted a shorter deal in order to take advantage of the rising cap and that the Los Angeles Lakers were an intriguing option.
Unfortunately for Butler, a little known provision in the CBA left him unable to pursue a shorter contract in restricted agency. That's because the Bulls gave Butler the max qualifying offer, making it mandatory any offer sheet from another team might be at least three years.
Butler was the Bulls' best player last season, but there are still some kinks to be worked out in the backcourt with Rose. The 2011 MVP is best with the ball in his hands, and new head coach Fred Hoiberg will have to figure out the best way to balance the touches and optimize those two together, as there were some evident struggles as Chicago's offense fell apart against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the postseason.
Still, the potential of a fully healthy Butler-Rose backcourt pairing is tantalizing, and Hoiberg's free-flowing offense should help. Hoiberg likes to push the tempo, and both Butler and Rose are uber-athletic guards who should excel getting out in transition. If those two can mesh, the Bulls will be dangerous.