The Chicago Bulls have made it abundantly clear that they want to keep Jimmy Butler as he hits restricted free agency, and on Wednesday it appears they will get their wish as the forward is finalizing a five-year deal to remain with the organization.
The deal, which was first reported as close to being done by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and was confirmed as done by Brian Windhorst of ESPN and K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, will pay Butler $90 million, and includes an opt-out clause after the fourth year.
Reports have been swirling for weeks about Butler’s ultimate destination, with the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly strongly in the mix, but the Bulls gave the forward a maximum qualifying offer, meaning that they would essentially match any offer that Butler was going to be given.
Butler had an opportunity to sign an extension with the Bulls before the 2014-15 season, but he rolled the dice on his ability to earn a max-contract, and the gamble paid off. Butler averaged 20 points and 5.8 rebounds per game during the season, and when Derrick Rose was out of the lineup due to injury, Butler picked up the scoring slack in a big way and helped keep the Bulls competitive.
Now, with Fred Hoiberg and his up-tempo offense in Chicago, Butler is going to have a serious opportunity to up his productivity even more in the coming years.