Wolves’ owner: Butler turned down max extension offer

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jimmy Butler has turned down the team’s four-year, $110 million max-level extension offer, owner Glen Taylor said on Friday.

Appearing on ESPN 1500 Twin Cities radio, Taylor described the exchange between the two sides as cordial, but noted that Butler and his representatives intend to seek a more lucrative contract when Butler becomes eligible next year.

“They said, ‘You guys have done everything and we’re very appreciative, but our bet is that we should wait ’til next year and get ourselves a better deal,'” Taylor said. “…We did everything we could, and they want to do what they think is right for Jimmy.”

Butler, 28, is set to become a free agent next summer, when he stands to make significantly more money, whether by re-signing with the Wolves or joining another team in free agency. Next year, he will be eligible for a five-year max-level deal with Minnesota worth around $188 million, or a four-year deal with any other team worth around $140 million.

Taylor acknowledged worries about Butler leaving the team in free agency but added that there is risk on both sides.

“I can’t control all that,” he said when asked about the possibility of losing Butler for nothing. “Jimmy’s taking some gamble here too that he won’t get injured, or for some reason or another he has a bad year. Both of us are taking some risk, and I think the main thing is we have to play really well this year, be very competitive.”

A Chicago Sun-Times report earlier this month said Butler has “no intentions” of signing an extension in Minnesota, adding that the forward is “all but fed up with the nonchalant attitude of his younger teammates,” most notably former No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns. The report added that Butler and Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving — who also is entering the final year of his deal and plans to wait to earn a more lucrative extension — have been hoping to team up somewhere in the Eastern Conference.

Asked about concerns with Butler’s relationship with his teammates, Taylor replied, “That doesn’t bother me.”

“I think he just wants to win and wants to make sure the people around him play really hard,” Taylor continued. “He’s just a very competitive person, and maybe not more than other people, but he’s probably more outspoken about it than a lot of people, what his expectations are. I don’t have any trouble with that.”

Taylor added that he expects Towns — who has been out of the country — to sign a max-level extension with Minnesota at some point this offseason.

Butler was sent to Minnesota during the 2017 draft for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and the No. 8 overall pick that year, Lauri Markkanen.

He appeared in 59 games in his first year with the Wolves, missing time late in the season due to right knee surgery. He averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists — all slightly lower than the figures he posted with Chicago the previous season.

Butler is due to make $18.7 million in 2018-19, the fourth-year of a five-year, $92.3 million extension he signed with Chicago.

–Field Level Media