Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler turned down a four-year, $40 million extension from the team at the end of October, according to SI.com's Ben Golliver.
The Bulls and Butler cut off negotiations on a deal around Halloween, just before the deadline for 2011 draft picks to receive extensions. At the time, Butler said the decision to end the discussions came down to him "deciding that I want to bet on myself."
The move could pay off for Butler down the road, as Golliver pointed out.
Upon further reflection, and advice from his agent Happy Walters, Butler decided to play out this season and test his earning potential next summer, when he will become a restricted free agent.
Market conditions certainly influenced that strategy: less-accomplished players like Kemba Walker ($48 million over four years) and Alec Burks ($42 million over four years) earned larger deals, while upper-echelon, two-way wings like Thompson ($70 million over four years), Gordon Hayward ($63 million over four years) and Chandler Parsons ($46 million over three years) all struck gold.
Through Chicago's first 16 games, Butler is leading the team in points per game (21.6) and also averaging 6.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists. The fourth-year player out of Marquette also leads the league in minutes played per game at 39.2.
Butler, 25, signed a four-year, $5.21 million contract after the Bulls drafted him 30th overall in 2011. He's currently earning $2 million in the fourth year of that deal. The Bulls will be able to match any offers he receives once Bulter hits restricted free agency next summer.
- Mike Fiammetta