Heading into the 2014-15 NBA season, all the attention was on the return of Derrick Rose and the signing of Pau Gasol for the Chicago Bulls. However, the surprising emergence of Jimmy Butler has made the Bulls one of the favorites to win it all this season.
Averaging 21.7 points and 6.3 rebounds, Butler heads into the 2015 off-season as one of the most sought-after free agents. After rejecting a four-year, $44 million contract, Butler is a restricted free agent and there are questions if the Bulls are prepared to offer a max contract.
According to David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls plan their up-and-coming new star to a max contract:
They fully expect to sign Butler to a max deal next July before another team even gets involved to tempt him with an offer sheet, which the CBA says they can after the moratorium ends.
Since Butler is a restricted free agent, the Bulls will be able to match any offers that come his way. With the Bulls planning on signing him to a max contact, it appears Butler will remain in Chicago for the next four seasons.
Heading into the 2015 off-season, the Lakers are projected to have $30 million in cap space to pursue big-name free agents. While the Lakers would have likely pursued Butler, the team will have to shift their focus to other free agents such as Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe, Tobias Harris, Rajon Rondo, Goran Dragic and Reggie Jackson.[divide]
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