Jimmy Butler? Part of a core? Worthy of extension?

Jimmy Butler?  Part of a core?  Worthy of extension?

Coming in to this season, Bulls fans were down right excited about Jimmy Butler. His improvement over Rip Hamilton, Keith Bogans, and Ronnie Brewer was one of the primary reasons fans felt the Bulls could contend for the title.

He capped off last season as a guy who looked like he was bringing NBA 1st team caliber defense while getting to the free throw line plenty, shooting 46.7% from the field, and 38.1% from the three point line.

Putting up such numbers in his second year started Paul George dreams in our heads. How much better will Jimmy Butler get?! A funny thing happened between the end of last year and Jimmy Butler's rise to stardom this year. He got a whole lot worse.

At one point, Bulls fans (and likely the front office) were wondering how we might afford Jimmy Butler going forward. In fact, much of the early clamor about trading Luol Deng was under the thought process that the Bulls would need to extend the younger Butler. He would certainly surpass Deng as a player while the players age.

The case was made that he was better than Deng already. He certainly looked more athletic and had more defensive upside. He just needed to prove out his volume shooting.

Well that was then and this is now.

Jimmy Butler's mired in a miserable shooting slump. His shooting percentage his dipped to 37.2%, his three point percentage down to 27.8%. A good chunk of the first number is related to the second. Jimmy's shooting a much higher volume of threes at a much lower percentage. However, his two point percentage his still dropped from 48.9% to 42.4% which shows the decline is all around.

Now the Bulls are left with the thought of what to do with Jimmy Butler. When his third season comes to a close, Butler will be eligible for an extension. Should the Bulls look to extend early and buy low or are they simply trying to catch a falling knife? Was Jimmy Butler's second season productivity a function of playing a smaller role and a lucky year or is this season a function of a turf toe injury that's never gotten better?

Butler hasn't been the same since the injury.

Season FG% 3PT% 2PT% FTR
2012/13 46.7% 38.1% 48.9% 45.5%
Pre Turf Toe 43.5% 38.5% 46.5% 52.2%
Post Turf Toe 35.5% 24.7% 41.3% 43.0%

It's a small sample size, and it's also biased because his pre turf toe games came with Derrick Rose rather than without him. However, his previous numbers in 2012/13 were all without Rose. Moreover, I also don't believe Rose was playing at a level that actually improved Butler's play this season either.

Rose was still struggling for much of the time he was back and has never been a PG with tremendous vision anyway.

Turf toe is one of those injuries that doesn't really go away until you have a chance to really rest it. Tom Thibodeau certainly isn't resting Jimmy Butler any. Butler's playing 36 minutes a night on the season with the number going up since the Deng trade and Rose's injury.

The numbers show that prior to the turf toe injury, Butler was on a similar path to the offensive numbers he put up the previous season [though doing it on higher volume]. His three point percentage was matching last year's rate, his free throw rate was up, and his two point percentage was dipped just a shade.

Since the injury? His numbers have fallen off the board in all facets. His shooting is clearly much worse, but he's also not getting to the foul line at the same rate either. Maybe it's simply a slump. Maybe his turf toe isn't a problem at all, and Butler has simply fallen off the map in terms of offensive effectiveness.

It's more one thing Bulls management will have to judge.

Buy low or buy no?

Given Butler's background, he strikes me as the type of guy who says yes to a reasonable extension. The question is what's reasonable? For 46.7% from the field, 38.1% from the three point line Jimmy Butler, reasonable might have pushed up near 10 million per year. A defender who can knock down the three shoot a good percentage, and draw fouls? Very solid player.

For the Jimmy Butler who plays defense but has Ronnie Brewer like offense, well reasonable is probably in the three million dollar range. He's still a valuable role player even without the offense, but this league pays for quality offense while Ronnie Brewer's bouncing around the NBA on minimum contracts and Thabo Sefolosha/Tony Allen are making sub MLE money.

Butler's clearly not going to sign an extension in the three million dollar range this off-season. He's better off trying to rebuild his value. However, an extension in the six million dollar range? Four years 20-24 million?

Maybe Butler rebuilds his value and is worth 4/40, but if not, the difference between 24 million and getting a 4/12 deal is likely the difference between being easily set for life if you're not an idiot and having to be far more cautious with your money.

Besides the Bulls deciding if they want to take the chance on Jimmy early, Jimmy will decide if he wants to double down on his own ability or whether he wants to lock in now.

I'm holding off on Butler

Role playing defensive wings under a super-genius coach don't seem like a hot commodity to me. My guess is that Tom Thibodeau can turn most athletic, hard working players into defensive power houses on the perimeter. My second guess is that the Bulls can find another guy who fits that criteria in the draft pretty easily.

Butler's numbers this year point to turf toe potentially being a problem, but it's also worth noting that Butler wasn't a great scorer in college. He was never a guy who looked like a great scorer in the NBA either. He doesn't have the handles to really create his own shot and likely won't develop them.

At best, you're hoping he can really improve the accuracy of his three point shot, but why expect that to happen given what we've seen so far? His quality percentages have been on lower volume and most of his makes are open looks from the corner.

I love Jimmy Butler, but there's no reason to lock in on him. He's a great guy, heart warming back story, hard worker, fun to watch, but ultimately, in the NBA, I think he's just a role player that the Bulls can find a replacement for in most drafts with a mid first round pick.

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  • Jimmy Butler is a nice guy to have on the roster. I think Bulls should extend him if they can sign him to a reasonable salary, if not trade him. On the Miami Heat, Butler would be a $3-$4 million salary, the Heat don't overpay role players. Yet overvaluing and overpaying role players has been an ongoing problem for Bulls.

    Butler's Marquette teammate SG Wesley Mathews signed with Portland for $5-$6 salary, but he is more offensively talented than Butler.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I believe that Mike Miller, Shane Battier, and even Haslem all got quite a bit more the 3-4 million from Miami. Miller who was amnestied and I think Battier got full MLE deals before the new CBA. I think that Joel Anthony who just got salary dumped was making $3 million or more.

    In my mind Jimmy was never worth $10 million per(just as Lance Stephenson isn't) but he is worth more than $3-4 million. I always thought that if what we saw last season was real his top end was Taj money, particularly given that he is likely to be a starter whereas, Taj may start some, but I still don't see him being a full time starter if he stays with the Bulls.

    As for overpaying, that is the nature of the league and the cap system. You have to overpay to keep or get the guys in the middle of the salary structure, I guess the question is how much do you overpay and for whom. We cant have anymore or too many Deng and Boozer deals. We need more Noah and maybe Taj and hopefully Mirotic deals.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Mike Miller signed a 5yr/$29mil contract. Every other Heat player (except the Big 3) are $4mil salary or less. That has been the salary situation in Miami for the last 4 seasons.

    http://data.shamsports.com/content/pages/data/salaries/heat.jsp

  • What is worse than underpaying a guy and not getting him?

    Overpaying and getting him!! Which the Bulls did a number of times.

    Offer him $4 million for 3 or 4 years. Even if the Bulls could get a similar player with their pick this year or next, as Doug wrote, why not have both Butler and that pick? Butler has potential to get a lot better, but it is a risk to pay for undeveloped potential, like Tyrus Thomas.

  • The Heat don't overpay role players? Really?

    Joel Anthony was making $3.8 million this season, and he played 37 minutes this season. They then gave away two draft picks (including a 1st rounder) to dump his salary and save luxury tax dollars. He made $3.75 million last year to play 9 minutes a night.

    Udonis Haslem is making $4.34 million this year, and he plays 12.5 minutes a night.

    Mike Miller made $5.8 million last season to play 15 minutes a night, and was due to make $6.2 million this season until the Heat amnestied him. A move that Reinsdorf would get crucified for if he had done it, the cheap, profit-mongering bastard.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    You beat me to that punch. Miami overpays.

  • In reply to Granby:

    1) Every team had made some FA mistakes, simply because our talent evaluation is flawed -- because players are flawed.
    Miami also has overpaid some players.
    2) However, Battier, Haslem, Chalmers, etc would all likely have bigger contracts on some other teams. Miami could draw some players for less money because they wanted the rings!
    3) Now, if the Bulls pay $8 million per year for guys that Miami gets for $4 million per year, which team will have more for elite players?

    4) The Bulls signed Watson, Lucas, Nate, Belli, Duneavy, and Augustine to deals very favorable to the team - and also to the players, because they fit the system and got to show what they could do, so they got better deals when they left Chicago.

    Apparently it is easier for the FO of the Bulls to find these value contracts for $2-3 million that it is to find value signings in the $6-7 million range! So, these are the guys the FO needs to continue to find for $2-3 million.

    The FO needs to be really sharp and not overpay in the higher salaries. Then they may just have the money for a couple of elite players -- not just guys with potential, but rather guys who have already lived up to their potential!

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    As usual, meaningless-stat-queen, you're missing the point.

    For the last several years, excluding the Big 3 Difference-Makers, every Heat player except Mike Miller made about $4 million or less. (Mike Miller signed a 5yr/$29 mil contract).

    http://data.shamsports.com/content/pages/data/salaries/heat.jsp

    Haslem, Chalmers, Battier, etc. There is a massive salary gap between the Big 3 and the rest of the roster and has been for years. Not a single 'non-all-of-fame-role-player' making $8, $10, $12, $14 million per year. A very different situation from the Bulls who have overpaid role players regularly.

  • In reply to Edward:

    It's so easy to tell when you've made someone's point look completely foolish and/or untrue, they'll come back with a personal insult.

    They are never smart enough to see it, but everyone else usually is.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I believe most readers of this blog are smart enough to see you have no substantive response when presented with the fact that (other than Mike Miller's 5yr/$29mil contract) the Heat are paying all players besides the 'Big 3 hall-of-famers' $4million or less.

  • In reply to Edward:

    People who agree with me that the Heat overpay role players- 3.

    People who agree with you that the Heat don't overpay role players- 0.

    Seriously, dude, get some psychiatric help. Denial isn't good for you, it can lead to serious problems.

    Obviously, a player can be overpaid at $4 million a year. Or are you now changing your stance on one Kirk Hinrich, I guess he's not overpaid any more?

    Again, thanks for the laughs. And get some help.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    How do you arrive at 3? Granby agrees with you, but who else?

    Rustyw's comments I believe recognize the fact that the Heat players aside from the Big 3 are lower paid and Bulls need to do the same.

    And Bigway got his facts wrong - claiming Battier and Haslem were paid "quite a bit more than $3-4 million", which is clearly not the case, and hasn't weighed in on this topic since.

    You can't even count to 3 correctly.
    And your fixation/argument that certain role players with salaries of $3-$4 million are overpaid is childish. It's childish because its immaterial to the main topic which is about Bulls potentially paying Butler $7-$9 million which is too much for a role player compared to what the competition (Heat) pays its role players, which is $4million or less (except Miller).

  • In reply to Edward:

    Edward, you said that the Heat don't overpay role players. That's what you said. How are we supposed to read your mind that you were thinking something different than what you said?

    Paying a guy that's a minimum salary player (Anthony) nearly $4 million is overpaying.

    Haslem, Miller, Battier, etc... all overpaid.

  • In reply to Granby:

    BS is BS, no matter how you try to spin it. And when people are looking for reasons to rip on the Bulls front office, the BS can get very, very deep (which is stupid, there are enough actual, factual reasons to criticize them without making stuff up).

    "Every FA wants to play in LA", even though Howard just turned down the extra year and extra money to sign elsewhere.

    "JR is cheap, teams like the Knicks and Heat don't worry about payroll", even though the Knicks didn't match the offer sheet for Lin, and even though the Heat amnestied Miller and traded away Anthony to save Luxury Tax $$$. And the Heat even threw in draft picks to save $$$, something Reinsdorf refused to do last season with Rip.

    All you can do is sit back and laugh, really.

  • In reply to Edward:

    If you get can three maximum salary caliber players on your team then you:
    1: Have a shit-ton of talent
    2: Have little choice in how much you pay other players because you don't have exceptions to offer much
    3: Can attract guys easier

    It also helps when your city is in one of the biggest party areas of the country, has warm weather all NBA season and no state income tax as well.

    I agree with what you're saying, but if the Bulls signed a bunch of players that were the same caliber of the Heat's players it wouldn't land them three superstars, it'd just make them a team of Milwaukee Bucks caliber with a much cheaper roster.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Exactly, the Heat can afford to pay anybody else more than $3-4 million. Thats why the had to get rid of the one guy making future Jimmy Butler money, Mike Miller, and he wasn't a starter for them.

    finally, if Jimmy Butler were on the Heat he would either be making more than $3-4 million per or he would not be on the Heat. Obviously, he is less of a fit on the Heat with Wade and Lebron starting at his positions. But Edward is really saying that Butler would not be a member of the Heat because they wouldn't pay him.

    Would you rather have Bulter or any of Miami's $3-4 million guys, Haslem, Battier, Chalmers, Anthony, even Ray Allen at this point?

    So despite Butlers struggles this season(which I've been all over) I'd still be happy to retain him at MLE money or even slightly above.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Hi Doug,
    Thanks for responding. For clarification, I never said Bulls signing similar role players to the Heat for those lower salaries would automatically land Bulls 3 superstars. However, the implication remains, if Bulls continue to overpay role players, they will never have the ability to add a true-star-difference-maker player, and will remain stuck in this current Dick Motta Era limbo of good but not good enough (otherwise known as the Derrick Rose Era).

    Personally, I think GarPaxDorf now get this, though they will never say so publicly as they are a very secretive organization. Personally, I don't think Bulls will be handing out any more 'Taj money' type contracts to non-difference-makers. I'm thinking they learned their lesson and their recent success in signing role players to short-term-low-paying deals affirms that role players should be paid like role players.

    Pax did have that comment that Bulls now have to prove they can accomplish something with the financial flexibility gained by trading Deng. Painful though trading Deng must have initially been for the Bulls organization, seeing it have zero impact on winning may influence future decisions. I believe Bulls will make a strong effort to add a difference-maker player.

  • I agree with Doug and wait to see how his final year plays out. I think the turf toe injury is messing with his shot. If he can get healthy this offseason, and gets back closer to his year two numbers (I'm not sure he can match them though). It would seem reasonable to extend him at around 4-5 mill/year. He'd be a solid starting 3. Now if Snell can develop into a 3 and D guy, Butler might become expendable then.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    Unless Snell becomes a star he does nothing to make Butler expendable. You need several good role playing wings, and hopefully at least one scoring star. the Bulls need to find that star to pair with Butler and whatever Snell is/becomes.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    Snell's got to improve considerably to prove he's an NBA caliber player let alone to make Butler expendable.

  • The only people who envisioned Jimmy Butler as the next Paul George would be overly enthusiastic Bulls fans. The dude could not create his own offense or drive on anyone to save his life. Granted, national media for hire Chicago major market attuned did rave over Butler's playoff performance which was admirable for sure. Still, even then his limitations were not hard to see.

    Butler, playoff one shining moment aside, has shown little to nothing offensively. The numbers Doug referenced from last year, I mean come on .381 three point percentage was based on A JOKE volume of 1.3 attempts per game. No serious three point shooter is going to timidly offer said paltry amount. Hey though, if we ever get expanded rosters with $100,00 vet mins he could come in like he did in college and shoot one a game at 38%. Boo ya!

    In a 34 minutes a game Thibsian pace, Butler still only recorded 1.4 steals a game and averaged 14.5 ppg. That's pretty pedestrian compared to the college stats of most successful NBA offensive wing players particularly at that high pace.

    Butler's scouting report says it all. When it comes to potential you have Paul George with not exceptional, but awesome potential. Not exceptional, but outstanding shooting. Not exceptional, but outstanding quickness. Mean while Jimmy Bucket(less) is ranked as not outstanding potential, not exceptional potential, not even very good potential, but sub-par potential(this from NBADraft.net).

    Jimmy Butler is living the dream, and it is just that, a dream. He is in no way a prolific or even a 12 ppg scorer as evidenced by his awful shooting(ha, ha) percentages this year.

    Granted in and of themselves Butler's college numbers in free throw percentage and three point percentage would suggest he could possibly become a decent three point specialist with excellent defense. In realty though, rarely if at all does a three point shooter have a basically non-existent exploration collegiately. If not for the regional warmth of Marquette, the endearing story and smile, and a name like Jimmy.. (crack corn, and I don't care). Another Bulls drafted offensive dud. Next!

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I don't think anyone ever thought Jimmy Butler could be the next Paul George. Doug just made that comment for stylistic reasons (in my interpretation, just to keep the piece flowing).

    What were your expectations when the Bulls drafted him 30th overall in the draft? Did anyone expect him to play this well? The fact that we're even having this discussion means he's 1) getting playing time, 2) developing, and 3) is a useful NBA player. More than a lot of 30th picks can say...

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    There was actually a pretty big thread on realgm about Jimmy Butler being the next Paul George. I never held this opinion, but it was something floated around.

    I would note that Butler doesn't have George's length and came into the league much older and more mature as a prospect, so had less room for growth, but there were some valid comparisons. Butler wasn't a great offensive player for most of his career either.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    There was also one of those ESPN 5 on 5 debates earlier this season, Jimmy Bulter vs Demar DeRozan, and at that time it was unanimous in favor of Jimmy, frankly I was shocked by that result.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    The guy was the 30th pick in the draft, currently injury related struggles aside, he in not a dud or a bust.

  • If we land Lance Stephenson, Butler becomes a trading bait, regardless of his performance.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    No if we get Stephenson, Butler becomes a valuable starting small forward. He becomes trade bait only in a massive upgrade sort of way, i.e. a Melo type player.

    Lets face it, Butler is a younger cheaper replacement for Deng, and there is nothing wrong with that if we ever solve our persistent shooting guard problem.

  • One other note, in typical Bulls leave you hanging in frustration fashion, this dangling Charlotte pick in a undoubtedly deep offensive talent draft is to laugh. One day listed as Bulls pick and the next back to Charlotte. Michael you magnificent bastard! You're going to be just resurgent enough to titillate Bulls fans, but just incompetent and lackluster enough to dash everyone's hopes in the end.

    Prediction: the Chicago Bulls play who else but... Charlotte in the last game of the season. The winner of said game.. loses the pick? Thibs, we both know what you're going to do. You're going to win that game with 48 minutes of Jimmy Butler turf toe D and Joakim having an anti playoff 50% from the floor. Yeah Bulls fans! Hell yeah!!

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    That is pretty darn ironic about playing Charlotte on the last day of the season. Of course the Bulls seed could also be in question of that day, not that it matters in the grand scheme of things, but it will to the Bulls themselves.

  • I think Jimmy has been hurt and he does have more potential. Probably not as good as last year, but better than he's been playing this year.

    Offer an extension at a reasonable price. I still think that he can be better than Deng these next few years - and Deng will get paid over $10 mil for 4 years - and maybe closer to $13 mil per.

    Assuming that he has not been healthy this year, I'd be happy with Butler at $4 mil/year for 4 years. I would expect to pay $5 mil.

    Even this year, he's a clear upgrade over Bogans and Brewer, not that they are anything special.

  • Finally you guys and your Jimmy Butler is a stud talk are coming around. Great defender but his percentages were solid looking only because he only took open shots. Which is what you want a role player to do. I still like Butler and think he can give us comprable numbers to Deng but with more disruptive defense. It's just nice to see some of the delusional fans who thought he would be an All Star come back to reality.

    I would be fine with a 4 year 20 million dollar contract extension. I think Butler will normally bring more offensively than Thabo or Tony Allen. I think he is probably in that 4-6 million range as a low end starter.

  • In reply to Chad:

    that sounds about right, and resonable, basically, full MLE money or maybe a bit above to keep him from going elsewhere. You can't have a roster full of superstars, somebody has to take up all the minutes. I'd rather have a bunch of Bulters and Gibsons than Boozer and Dengs filling that role.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Definitely! They are almost as good, probably more fun, and the money saved might (Might) go toward an elite signing.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I recall a previous Bulls player, a fan favorite, who had a very good playoff run, and was rewarded with a sizable contract extension (5yrs/$38 million = $7.6 mil per) that he never lived up to. This former Bull became an overpaid role player.

    It's can be a tricky business to clearly identify the role players vs. the difference makers and pay them accordingly. But Bulls could use some improvement in this area.

  • In reply to Edward:

    It's funny enough that you went back 7 years to try and name a guy the Bulls "overpaid", but you couldn't even get the facts correct. Noc wasn't rewarded for a good playoff run, unless you count the good 6 game playoff run he had in 2006, THE YEAR BEFORE he signed his extension...

    Nocioni resigned with the Bulls in the summer of 2007, coming off a playoff run where he played 19.7 minutes and averaged 8.8 pts, 3.5 reb, and shot 36.0% from the field with a .468 TS% and a 9.2 PER (for those who only know how to judge a player by his PER).

    And I don't even know that he was overpaid in the old CBA- Pax was able to trade him (and Drew Gooden's expiring, who was immediately cut) with 3 1/2 years left on his 5 year deal for Brad Miller and John Salmons, who were good players for the Bulls and who each only had 1 1/2 years left on their contracts.

    Paxson always talked about signing players to "tradeable contracts", and Nocioni's extension certainly qualified.

  • This is one area I think teams can get in trouble with, overpaying likeable draft picks and not being salary cap savy. He's a good role player but limited with his short/average arms and inconsistent shot. I think what most said is fair, around the MLE......start pushing that figure to the 8 million mark and your asking for trouble for a non-scorer. I think you should only pay above the MLE to centers/tall powerforwards when it comes to role playing defensive players, there are many wing free agent that can play defense, that market shouldn't be overpriced as we see James Johnson excelling in that role with Memphis. You gotta get scorers garpax, the NBA isn't the same game of the 1990s, its more offense now with the 3pt shot extremely important. Hopefully Paxson can wake up and realize the changes that have taken place since the Jordan years.

  • Very, very good article with a lot of good viewpoints from bloggers. Here's mine.

    1--How injured Jimmy is and his likely hood to recover MUST be considered strongly.

    2--IF the Bulls are serious about getting Melo or Love, they cant commit money to anyone ahead of time. (That probably inclues DJ too)

    3--Thibs and the Bulls have built a model, at least on "D", and they have traded Deng who was a big part of that. Trading Butler, or letting him go would force the "D" to take another hit that would be very hard to replace.

    Summary, probsbly best to wait and see for a while!

    Comments???

  • Do you think we could trade a couple 1st rounders, Boozer, Hinrich, and Dunleavy for Melo and MWP? Salaries match and we take back a bad contract for them accepting Boozer as a trade ballast. Or maybe a third team can help out like the Warriors kicking a pick to the Knicks for Hinrich or Houston for Dunleavy.

  • Jimmy's numbers in the 9 games before he got hurt:

    29.8 min
    .435 FG
    .385 3's (2.9 att/game)
    .861 FT (4.0 att/game)
    .595 TS%
    11.2 pts

    Almost all of those minutes came at SG, not that there is much of a difference in SG and SF. If you can guard both positions (which he can, quite easily), you can easily play SG with those offensive numbers.

    He's easily worth the MLE, but I wouldn't go over 7 or 8 million at the top end. Paxson is all about having guys on tradable contracts, which to me means can you dump the player for an expiring. I think even at $8 million per, you can easily dump a HEALTHY Jimmy for an expiring.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I hope you are correct, that Jimmy becomes a player worth the $8 million. But the FO needs to see that consistently first, do they not? The stats you posted do not justify $8 million per. The Bulls can get stats that good for $2-3 million per, like Augustine and Belli.

    Yeah, Butler is better on D, but at three times the salary? Go sign Lance for $10 million instead of Butler for $8 million!!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I don't think I'd give him even $7 million this summer- the FO correctly expects guys to take a discount if they want to sign their extension after year 3 (instead of waiting until they are a RFA after year 4).

    But if Jimmy can match his numbers from last season and the first 9 games of this season (when he was healthy), I'd have to go $7 million per this summer.

    I know I love defense, which is hard to account for when it comes to paying a guy- but a guy like Jimmy can damn near lock down defend 3 positions. If that saves your defense 5-6 points a game, to me it's the same as scoring an extra 5-6 points per game.

    And you're 100% correct on Lance at $10 million vs Jimmy at $8 million, that's a very easy decision to make.

  • I don't believe Butler is a 38% shooter except for injury - the 38% strikes me as a combination of low volume and a bit of luck in a small sample. I suspect the real story is that he'll settle around the Luol Deng 1 in 3 area for his career, which would make him a guy you don't cringe when he takes a three, but teams don't respect it either.

    As far as an extension goes, the Bulls pretty much have to be thinking keep him if they're letting Thibs play him heavy minutes while he's playing so badly (presumably through not being 100%). He's destroying his trade value, so there goes that option, better hope you're using it to drive down his contract price.

    10 million is an insane extension for Butler even if he continued on from last year. Look at last year's play - sure he was efficient but his usage was under 15%. He took under 2 threes and averaged under 2 assists per 36. They're the numbers of a guy who is not much more than a warm body on the offensive end. As you say, he's a good defender, but one suspects anyone who is reasonably athletic and willing to play hard would be similar wing defender under Thibs' scheme. I think Butler is worth MLE type money at most, and the Bulls should be looking for a discount on that due to his poor play. I'd offer him something like 4/18, and if he doesn't take it, let him prove it for another year. I really don't think there's a lot of risk Butler blows up and hurts you.

  • Butler's offense really fell off the cliff after he did his 60-minute man game. He hasn't seemed the same since. So, extending him shouldn't be a big deal. What separates defensive only players is their energy level. The Bulls pay players like Noah and Rodman, because the combination of their defense and energy, along with their rebounding and passing, make them valuable game changers.

    Butler is a good defender at the 2 and 3, plus I liked him defending the 1 vs. Parker the other night, but he doesn't change the course of games with his energy level, he is not playing a rebounding position, he is not a good passer and he does not have a good handle.

    Signing Gibson was a no-brainer, because if he stays in Chicago, he will take over for Boozer and provide much more value for his cap hit. Depending on how trades, the draft and FA signings go for next season, Butler could very likely end up being a bench mobber again and the Bulls don't pay big $'s for the bench mob anymore. So, I don't think JB will be a big money priority here or elsewhere, but I do think he is a good role player, a good Thibs player and someone worth keeping.

  • To me, Butler is the next potential L.Deng on our roster -- meaning a really nice player who won't make a big difference in Ws and Ls. I say we use Butler as a chit to go get a more useful asset for this team -- someone who can fill it up, and get his own shot.
    Save the draft choices to find the next Butler, and let someone else use up 6 to 8M of their cap room to let him be the defensive cog they need.

  • In reply to Gunga:

    Luol Deng made a huge difference in wins and losses for this franchise. In fact, outside of Derrick Rose, he has meant more than any other player to the W's and L's of this team in the past decade. I think if you saw last year's playoff series against the nets, you would have seen what Butler means in terms of wins and losses as well. Getting your shot isn't everything, and don't discount a guy that plays excellent defense at SF in a SF rich league in terms of offense, especially in the same conference as LeBron. Who is the someone else you had in mind that will play the same level of D as Jimmy brings, since it is apparently easy to pick from the pool of better offensively-oriented defensive cogs?

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    In Doug's scenario for getting 'Melo, I'd rather keep two of the draft picks and give up Butler -- or something like that.

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