Jimmy Butler wants to remain a Bull

CHICAGO -- Jimmy Butler is hoping to stay in Chicago.

The swingman made that clear after Tuesday's first practice as the Bulls' front office and Butler's agent, Happy Walters, continue to try to hammer out an extension before the Oct. 31 deadline.

"I want to be here," Butler said. "I think the Bulls want me here. So however long it takes, as long as we get it worked out. Basketball is my main focus, not really the contract situation."

Butler, selected 30th overall by the Bulls in the 2011 draft out of Marquette, would become a restricted free agent at the end of the season if an extension is not worked out.

"They definitely are [working on it]," he said. "I think we're really good right now, moving in the right direction. But that's between them. I just got to be with my teammates and whatever I do between myself and that basket will handle that a lot easier."

That's exactly the attitude Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau wants Butler to have. Butler struggled with his shot last season but has proved to be one of the best defensive wings in the game, earning second-team All-Defense honors.

Thibodeau just wants Butler to focus on what's happening on the floor.

"That's the business side," Thibodeau said. "Hopefully that gets taken care of by his agent. Gar [Forman] and John [Paxson] handle that along with [owner] Jerry [Reinsdorf], of course. The important thing for Jimmy is to take care of what he can control, which is how he plays. And I think winning helps build value. So the more we win the higher his value is. He's critical for our team, he's got a great approach. We don't want him to change."

Teammate Derrick Rose said he wasn't aware Butler was up for an extension until being told by the assembled media. Rose hasn't seen a difference in how the 25-year-old has been preparing himself for the season.

"You can't tell by the way he's been practicing," Rose said. "He's been shooting the ball after practice just trying to take it more serious, and that's all you can ask for him. This year he's huge for us because we're really going to need him to make that consistent outside shot, and I think teams are not ready for it."

Forman noted at Monday's media day talks were ongoing and that the Bulls were hopeful to get a deal done, but the Bulls have gone down to the wire before in negotiations. Two years ago, they completed an extension with power forward Taj Gibson just minutes before the deadline as Gibson's agent, Mark Bartelstein, worked out the final details outside of the Bulls' locker room.

Butler is hoping the process doesn't take too long, but he is going to take everything in stride.

"I don't really think about it too much," he said. "I grew up without money. I think I'll be all right for a couple more days. I just play basketball. That's what I know. And if you play basketball the right way, the contract situation will handle itself."