When he came to Chicago last season, Jimmy Butler said he was ready to help the Bulls win a title. A year later, the two sides are apparently on the same page as the Bulls have officially picked up Butler’s option, keeping him in Chicago through the 2013-14 season.
Butler took strides in his game this offseason in the Las Vegas Summer League, and it’s been nothing but hope since then. With the team down in the dumps after a tumultuous offseason of terrible signings, the future of the Bulls is in young and talented players like Butler, who aim to build on their success and help this team out in any way they can.
Keeping Butler in Chicago through next season means if the Bulls don’t hash things out with Luol Deng when his contract expires, Butler could be used as a bartering tool to get Deng to lower his asking price. Butler is being viewed as the heir-apparent at small forward and if he impresses over the next two years, it could mean the difference between the Bulls shelling out cash to keep both Deng and Butler in Chicago, and just keeping Butler.
Obviously if he impresses, the contract figure on Butler will be higher when it comes time to negotiate, but for now he’s got his work cut out for him. He won’t be starting this year, but with Deng’s recent injury woes, Butler could see some serious minutes. The Bulls are also covered over the next two seasons in case Deng is out for an extended period of time and need Butler to step up.
Butler’s option bumps his pay up to $1.11 million, which is well within the Bulls unrealistic price range for players. But hate the front office all you want for bringing guys like Vlad Rad and Marco Belinelli to the Windy City. They have been on a hot streak by extending Tom Thibodeau and now exercising Butler’s option.
Now the results need to be seen on the court.