Not too long after the Minnesota Timberwolves got eliminated by the Houston Rockets in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, news began to break that Jimmy Butler was unhappy with the Timberwolves and that he didn’t get along with teammates Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Bernie Lee, Butler’s agent, addressed the rumors by saying that Butler was not the type of player who is “passive-aggressive.”
The Timberwolves offered Jimmy Butler a four-year, $110 million dollar contract extension. Butler declined the extension which led to many analysts saying that he would most likely get traded during the free agency period.
While Jimmy Butler still has two years left on his contract, one of those years is a player option which means he could terminate his contract a year earlier and become an unrestricted free agent as early as next summer.
Just because Butler declined his contract doesn’t mean that Butler wouldn’t want to stay in Minnesota, it could mean that he wants to get a bigger deal in 2019 when he becomes a free agent. This would hurt Minnesota in the long run if they let Butler walk in free agency for nothing as they would be getting nothing in return for an All-Star.
Not too long after the reports had surfaced that Jimmy had declined a max deal with the Timberwolves, other rumors started to spread that he had expressed his desire to play with fellow Team USA teammate Kyrie Irving.
Very identical to Butler, Kyrie declined a contract extension from the Celtics, believing that he could earn a much bigger deal when he becomes an unrestricted free agency in 2019.
There are a couple of teams that could very well sign both of them next offseason so it wouldn’t be surprising if both players left their respective teams to join forces on a team like the Knicks or the Bulls, two teams that have a lot of cap space saved up for next offseason.
Ultimately, Butler’s decision will come down to how the Timberwolves play next season. If they improve and win a playoff series, chances are that Butler stays and signs a 5 year $190 million deal with Minnesota next offseason, a much bigger deal than he would’ve got in 2018.
If Minnesota doesn’t make the playoffs or have a similar season to the one they had last year, Butler could leave and sign a 4 year $140 million deal with another team. It will be very interesting to see how Minnesota does next season and where Butler lands in the summer of 2019.