"We offered him the extension, and they've met and come back to us and said they're really appreciative of it, they appreciate that we got to them right away and all that, but they declined it," Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said in an interview with ESPN 1500, without specifying the amount the team offered.
"They said, 'You guys have done everything and we're very appreciative, but our bet is that we should wait 'til next year and we could get ourselves a better deal.' ... We did everything we could, and they want to do what they think is right for Jimmy."
If Butler puts together another All-Star-caliber season, he stands to make even more money next summer because the league's salary cap is expected to rise.
This is not the first time Butler has decided to turn down a lucrative extension. Before the 2014-15 season, he declined to sign a four-year deal worth close to $44 million with the Chicago Bulls. At the time, Butler believed he could make even more money with another big year. He was correct, as he won the NBA's Most Improved Player Award in 2014-15 and signed a max extension the ensuing summer worth more than $90 million.
"Jimmy's taking some gamble here, too," Taylor said. "That he won't get injured or that for some reason or another, he has a bad year. Both of us are taking some risk. I think the main thing is we have to play really well this year and be very competitive, and I think Jimmy, as other star players, will want to play on a team that does well and has the potential of doing better."
Butler averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last season, his first with the Timberwolves after being traded by the Bulls in June 2017. He missed 17 games with a right knee injury that required surgery on his meniscus but returned to help lead the franchise to its first postseason berth in 14 years.