Jimmy Butler is the latest professional athlete to join the recent trend of demanding a trade, or new contract, before Torie current deal has expired. The trend which really came to the forefront last summer with Kyrie Irving and Paul George, in the last year has picked up malcontents LeVeon Bell and Earl Thomas. I understand the players are treating the situation like a business, just as the teams are, but there is one main problem; they are under contract.
That is what I find annoying. Let’s look at Jimmy Butlers case. He is in the final year of his five year, $92 million deal. He wants to control where he goes. But guess what, he will have that option. It’s called free agency and he will reach that after this year when his contract HE SIGNED expires. Oh but he claims to be unhappy because all he wants to do is win. So what teams does he want to be traded to? The Brooklyn Nets, LA Clippers, or New York Knicks. So if he just wants to win why do all three teams he wants to be traded to have worse records than his current team Minnesota? And it’s not even close, the Knicks and Nets failed to reach 30 wins while his Timberwolves team finished with 47 wins last season. Maybe it isn’t winning, maybe it’s you Jimmy. Maybe you are the problem and reason the organization is in discontent. Let’s not forget the Bulls traded the four time All-Star Butler just two years ago because they felt he could not be the face of the franchise. Teams don’t just get rid of young All-Star players for no reason. There is a common denominator and its Jimmy Butler.
Now let’s head over to the NFL, where two of the biggest storylines this season have involved Earl Thomas and LeVeon Bell. Bell has held out all summer, refusing to sign the franchise tag offer from the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is the second year he received the tag, which pays him an average of top five salary earner at your position or 120 percent of the players previous salary. For Bell this means he earned over $12 million last season and this year’s contract would have nearly doubled his five career earnings at $15 million. Yet he continues to hold out because he wants to be paid “his worth”; seeking quarterback type money in the $25-30 million range. The problem is Bell likely will not receive that type of contract and will most likely never make up the $15 million he is forgoing this year. NFL teams no longer value the running back, had Bell signed the deal this year he would have been the highest paid running back. Other top earners at the position are Jerick McKinnon ($10 million), LeSean McCoy ($9 million), and Ezekial Ellitott ($7 million). No one is even close to the range Bell is seeking. Even the biggest contract signed by a running back, Todd Gurley which begins in two years, will only pay him $15 million per season. The SAME amount Bell could have earned this year. Bell instead is throwing away the highest earning salary in a season for any player at his position and losing a year of playing time in his career. I know he states he is saving his work load for when he is paid but age is not something you can pause. The hard truth is he is losing a year while in his prime and he will not get that back. Instead he is single handedly trying to ruin a whole team’s season by not reporting until week seven, putting his desires first.
Earl Thomas was in a similar situation as Bell and Butler. Thomas was in his final year of his contract he signed – four year deal that paid him $10 million per season. He held out of summer camp before finally returning to the Seattle Seahawks to join the team. Then he suffered a season ending injury and people rushed to claim this is why he should have held out. But again I’m sorry. He signed a deal. He had time still on his contract. The team was under no obligation to extend the deal. And this shows why. An injury can happen at any moment and in particular a team is not going to extend a 30 year old safety for that reason. He should find another team to play for next year but it won’t be the same amount of money I’m sure. This is a business and he states he understands that yet he decides to flip of his own sideline after the injury.
This is professional athletics. Players do not give their money back when they have a down year. So teams are under no obligation to restructure a player’s contract just because the player has a stand out season. Honor your contracts. If you are still valuable at the end of them you will get your worth. But when these players are putting themseleves before their own team like Bell, or purposely causing problems for the organization lile Butler, or disrespecting an entire fan base like Thomas that is enough for me. Grow up. It’s a business.