Jimmy Butler Extension with Timberwolves Should be His Best Option in 2019

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There are a lot of things around the Minnesota Sports Twitter-sphere that are telling us we need NFL training camp to start. Badly.

The players seem ready too…

But, beyond the constant pull of neck-scratching addiction to football season, the one thing I can’t escape is the Jimmy Butler contract talk. You’ve heard by now. Buckets turned down the Timberwolves’ offer for a max-contract extension. If you stayed away from the #FakeNews, then you also know that Jimmy made that decision with financial motivations and NOT ‘I hate Minnesota and the Timberwolves Organization’ motivations. We can all understand the want to cash in to the max degree. It’s what’s great about capitalism.

And how much more $$$ could it be, you ask? A lot more.

Yes. $70-80 million more. He might want to take that in a check, no matter what Randy said. Why does he get all of this extra straight cash for waiting one extra year? Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s something to do with the screwy cap the NBA has. Now that he’s declined the contract, that really doesn’t matter. Here’s what does:

Jimmy gets A LOT more guaranteed money next offseason if he re-ups with the Timberwolves. Why?

It’s BIRD RIGHTS, people! I’ve gone in-depth before but it’s pretty simple, if you don’t care about the details: The NBA allows teams, who have had a player under contract for 3 or more years, to give said-player one more guaranteed year (5 years instead of 4) in a new “maximum” deal, than any other team who would be courting him in free agency. Max-players also get a slightly bigger raise every year by re-signing with their current team. These “Bird Rights” also travel with a player if they are traded, which is the case for Butler and the Wolves. The rule was implemented to create competitive balance for teams in smaller markets.

Because of the 5th year the Wolves are able to offer, that the other teams aren’t, Butler will make $40M+ additional by sticking around. That’s a lot of additional dough.

Sure, Butler could play 4 wonderful seasons somewhere else, possibly win championships in an easier fashion, and thus cash in on another big payday, rendering that extra season offered by the Wolves moot. However, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side (except in the Winter) and a serious injury can always make your current contract, your last one.

But, hold on Eric… Jimmy isn’t about the money.


Well, we’re all about the money to some degree, but sure…. I’ll play along. He said it himself, right? And he did lose money when he busted out of Chicago. So, he’s proven he’s not fully about the money.

So, here’s what needs to happen for Jimmy to believe in Minnesota, take the extra money, and lead some future Minnesota basketball playoff expeditions:

Even beyond the cash, the Timberwolves have a lot more to offer than most other teams, including 2 young stars with limitless potential. Potential he’s already tried to hone, without much success, for one season. So yes, the tables definitely turn if Wiggins doesn’t make a huge step this season AND both he and KAT don’t show more dedication both on, but mostly off, of the court. Those two things aren’t as far out as some fans believe. Not all of us clicked into our adult responsibilities by 22. It’s likely just a matter of time for both Wiggins and Towns. But, that time needs to come this year, if Jimmy is to stay.

And let’s be honest about Jimmy too. He clearly isn’t the easiest teammate or player (if you’re the coach) to get along with. If he can smooth things over with the young generation and everyone on the roster can get on the same page; it’d be much easier, and possibly much better, to remain a Wolf. He also knows the coach here wants to win as badly as he does. Jimmy constantly mentions how difficult his search seems to be for those who salivate for W’s like him.

And, that brings me to my other variable. Thibs.

That’s right Thibs’ haters. I’m calling you out again. If Thibs goes, so does Butler, and so does any chance at NBA relevancy in Minnesota. Is that what you want? I doubt it. So, for the good of Minnesota basketball, just bite your tongue (and Twitter fingers) and let’s see what year-2 of this experiment bares. If it all goes downhill and we have to shake things up after the season (or even during)g, then so be it.

But right now, having a good season and getting Butler to sign next offseason should be the priority. If things can trickle into place, I really believe Butler will stay with Thibs and stay in Minnesota. Who knows what this threesome could be in 3-4 years, when Golden State’s run is hopefully over.


Eric Strack
MinnesotaSportsFan.com @RealMNSportsFan

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