The Chicago Bulls tendered starting shooting guard Jimmy Butler with both a qualifying offer and maximum qualifying offer -- thus narrowing his options as an upcoming restricted free agent.
The Chicago Bulls have given Jimmy Butler both a qualifying offer AND a max qualifying offer @BBallInsiders
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) June 29, 2015
This is the first time that a team has gone the route of simultaneously doling out such contracts to a restricted free agent, essentially giving Butler three choices down the road. The 26-year-old guard could always pick a five-year deal worth $90 million, which would lock him up in a Bulls jersey until he turns 30. The maximum offer he could get from another team would be a three-year deal for $50 million that the Bulls would likely match.
Butler can also sign a one-year deal by taking the qualifying offer of $4.4 million -- then pursue his own destiny by becoming an unrestricted free agent next year. However, if he has a bad year or is injured, he could scare away suitors or negatively affect the value of contract offers. Butler already turned down a $44 million extension last October and that gamble paid off well as he produced his first All-Star appearance. It is still unclear if he is willing to bet on himself for another year and command his destiny in 2016.
The Marquette University product has been leaning toward signing a short-term deal and was previously linked to the Los Angeles Lakers, who are said to be agreeable to a one-year contract. There have been rumblings of discord in the Bulls backcourt after it was hinted that Butler found it difficult to accept that Chicago remains Derrick Rose’s team.
Nevertheless, the organization quickly quashed rumors and declared that Butler and Rose are on the same page regarding the team's championship quest. “We talk to Jimmy all the time,’’ Bulls General Manager Gar Forman said. “Jimmy has been in the building. There’s no reason at all that their games shouldn’t fit together perfect.”