Never a doubt in Butler's future with Bulls

CHICAGO -- Jimmy Butler isn't leaving the Chicago Bulls any time soon.

There are several reasons why the organization has always felt so confident in retaining Butler as the window for player movement opens Wednesday. Their belief has only been strengthened over the last 24 hours after ESPN.com's Chris Broussard reported Tuesday that Butler cancelled meetings with the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks after being offered a max qualifying offer by the Bulls worth more than $90 million over five years.

First and foremost, he's a restricted free agent. The Bulls have the right to match any offer he signs with another team, but they have made it clear from the outset that any team that tried to sign Butler elsewhere would be wasting its time and resources.

Bulls executive VP John Paxson told ESPN 1000's "Waddle and Silvy Show" back in January that the Bulls would match any offer for Butler, even if it was a max offer. The organization's thought process hasn't changed. Both GM Gar Forman and new head coach Fred Hoiberg sounded extremely confident that Butler would be back with the Bulls for the long haul while discussing the pending negotiations after last Thursday's draft.

Now all that remains for Butler and the Bulls is to figure out exactly how many years he wants to re-sign. The safe bet is that Butler will sign a three-year deal worth close to $50 million or a four-year deal with a player option after the third year so that he can cash in all the new TV money that will be flooding into the game over the next few seasons. Butler is in the rare position to be able to have two huge paydays in a short span of time given the new fortune being infused into the league.

The other big reason why the Bulls always felt confident in getting a deal done with Butler was because he has repeatedly said he enjoys being in Chicago.

As Butler worked his way into the league's Most Improved Player last season, reporters around the league asked him about the possibility of playing for a new team. The 25-year-old always deflected those questions and has been open about how much he likes being a Bull. Butler has been steadfast in his belief he would remain in Chicago from the moment he turned down the organization's final offer before last October's deadline for impending restricted free agents.

That belief hasn't changed within the Bulls' front office as the speculation has grown surrounding Butler's future in recent weeks, especially in regard to the reports of a rift between Butler and Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. Both players have been publicly supportive of one another in the last year and the feeling within the organization is that this is a storyline that has gotten overblown.

The reality for the Bulls is that Butler's demeanor has changed since coming into the league as a soft-spoken rookie in 2011. He enjoys being in the spotlight and he wants to be an alpha-dog on a team that still believes it can win a championship next season. But has Butler changed to a point where he can no longer coexist with Rose on the floor? No.

There's nothing wrong with believing in your abilities and as long as Butler continues producing at a high level, he will continue to get the benefit of the doubt from within the organization and from fans. Once the final details of the extension are hammered out, there are two main questions the Butler will have to answer in the coming months.

1. Will he be able to produce at the same high level -- he averaged 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists in 38.7 minutes per game in 2014-15 -- that he performed at a season ago?

2. Will he be able to play with the same passion and hunger night after night that he showed while earning this big extension?

If Butler answers both of those questions with the same passionate play he displayed in his first four seasons, then he and the Bulls have nothing to worry about moving forward.