Jimmy Butler plans to pursue short-term offer sheets this summer in free agency and resist the Chicago Bulls' offer of a five-year maximum contract.
As the NBA’s salary cap is set to dramatically rise beginning with the 2016-17 season, Butler has become far less interested in locking himself into the five-year, $90 million-plus deal the Bulls are expected to present him on July 1.
Chicago could be faced with Butler’s agents at Relativity Media, Happy Walters and Steve McCaskill, loading up a short-term offer sheet that includes a trade kicker and the potential loss of Butler to unrestricted free agency in 2017.
Butler’s intrigue with signing an offer sheet with the Los Angeles Lakers has increased.
RealGM's Shams Charania reported in May that the Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks were two potential suitors.
Unless Bulls officials bring Butler a shorter-term deal that’s more favorable to his long-term earning power, they’ll likely be waiting to match an offer sheet.
Butler could sign a three-year offer sheet that guarantees him $50 million, but allows for a player option on the third year that could allow him to move into unrestricted free agency and re-sign for a five-year, maximum deal worth as much as $190 million.
Butler turned down a four-year, $44 million offer from the Bulls last October and sources say a four-year, $48 million offer would have gotten a deal done.
Butler could also play the 15-16 season under a $4.4 million qualifying offer to become an unrestricted free agent in 2016, though that's considered a long shot.