When Jimmy Butler was eligible for a contract extension in 2014, the Chicago Bulls made him a low offer and threatened to cut his playing time if he didn’t accept it.
“Jimmy Butler after his third year, scored about 13 points a game,” said Russillo. “He’s going to hit, right? Wow. What a great draft pick. This front office has donn a good job here, but he’s not a star, so as a restricted free agent we’ll offer you an extension. They offered him four years about $44 million, in the forties, pretty good money.
“The way restricted free agency works is you know if you can get there, another team is going to offer you way more than you’re probably worth because they don’t want the other team to match it.
“So Butler is like, ‘look that’s a nice offer but I’m not taking it.’
“And then Klay Thompson gets four for $70 million. And if you remember, at the time, people were going ‘man, you have to max Klay Thompson?’ Because Klay Thompson then, is not who Klay Thompson is today.
“So Butler’s like ‘I’m going to get my money.’
“And the way I was told the story is that it wasn’t the coaching staff, it was someone in the front office went to Jimmy Butler and said ‘if you don’t sign this extension, we’re going to play Tony Snell over you. We are going to give you his minutes and that’s going to drop your minutes and numbers down.’
“‘And Butler’s like, ‘are you kidding me? Tony Snell? This dude I killed in practice. That’s what you’re going to do? You’re going to try to depress my market by playing a lesser player more than me?’
Tom Thibodeau refused to follow through with the Bulls’ threat and Butler emerged as the Most Improved Player in the NBA. Butler went on to sign a five-year, $95 million contract as a restricted free agent.
“Butler doesn’t trust the front office because he feels like they were going to do this to him. And that’s why there’s always this animosity and that’s why his name, even though I could never truly figure out where he’s connected other than maybe the Boston rumor or the Minnesota rumor going back to last summer’s draft.”
Butler shared his mistrust of the Bulls with Dwyane Wade and that has spilled over to Fred Hoiberg as well.
Full article @ Bulls Threatened To Cut Jimmy Butler’s Minutes If He Didn’t Sign Extension In 2014
Source: RealGM Basketball Wiretap
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